Youth Gangs in New Zealand
Youth Gangs have existed in New Zealand for generations. But in the past few years they have hit the headlines in a big way.
In 2006, in response to an increase in gang activity in the South Auckland area the government decided to really find out what was behind the violence so that measures could be taken to help young people and families caught up in gangs. The result was a comprehensive research report into Youth Gangs in New Zealand.
The outcome of the research was the National Action Plan on Youth Gangs – this had a focus on Counties Manukau in the first instance. This plan sets out how communities throughout New Zealand keep young people out of gangs and reduce youth offending. We want to ensure that young people who might become involved in or already are involved in youth gang activity have a way out.
The Action Plan coordinates the Action on Youth Gangs Programme of Work in partnership with the New Zealand Police and Mayors and where appropriate implements each local Plan of Action in partnership with the Ministries of Education, Justice and Health.
This plan involves:
- Liaising and engaging communities including primarily territorial local authorities on the Youth Gangs: Local Response Guidelines.
- Supporting communities to identify youth gang activity, develop and implement responses appropriate to the agreed level of youth gang activities in their community.
- Supporting the development and implementation of a Plan of Action.
- Supporting the whole-of-government approach to youth gang activities, and work in partnership with local government and communities.
Youth Gang action plans have been implemented in Northland (primarily Whangarei) and Counties Manukau. Action Plans are also under development for the wider Auckland area, Bay of Plenty (Kawarau, Rotorua, and then staggered to other parts of the region), Waikato (Hamilton City only) and East Coast.
For more information email Carl Crafar, National Youth Intervention Services Manager.