Patched: The History of Gangs in New Zealand

Jarrod Gilbert


‘Jarrod Gilbert knows more about the gangs of New Zealand than anybody else. He knows about honour, he knows about the road, he knows the code. He got as close to the gangs as somebody could without wearing a patch. This book tells his story.’ – Ross Kemp, BAFTA Award-winning filmmaker


The Devil’s Henchmen throwing Molotov cocktails at the Epitaph Riders in Christchurch’s first gang war. Prime Minister Rob Muldoon surrounded by Black Power members at the Royal Tiger Tavern in Wellington. The Magogs and the Mothers, PEP schemes and P dealers, patches and ridgies, colours and class: for five decades gangs have had a massive impact on New Zealand life.

Based on ten years of research among gangs, Patched is the first major history of gang life in New Zealand. Jarrod Gilbert traces the story from the bodgies and widgies of the 1950s, through the rise of the Hells Angels and other ‘bikie’ gangs in the 1960s, the growth of the Mongrel Mob and Black Power in the 1970s and on to shifts in gang activity around drugs and organised crime over the last ten years. Throughout, Gilbert brings us the gang members, the police and the politicians in their own gripping and gritty words.

In this violent and sometimes horrifying book, Jarrod Gilbert takes readers for the first time inside a tough but revealing part of New Zealand life.


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Jarrod Gilbert spent ten years with New Zealand gangs researching this book. He received a University of Canterbury Doctoral Scholarship and a C. Wright Mills Award, earning his PhD in sociology in 2010. Gilbert now conducts independent research, lectures at the University of Canterbury and is frequently sought by the media to comment on gangs.


Winner, People's Choice Award, New Zealand Post Book Awards 2013


March 2013, 230 x 165 mm, 360 pages, colour and b/w illustrations
Paperback, ISBN 978 1 86940 729 2, $49.99