New Zealand Gangs Are Making Peace and Mowing Lawns

Members of New Zealand’s notorious Mongrel Mob and Black Power gangs are looking to trade their switchblades for shears. In July the council of Dunedin City, located on the South Island’s east coast, will begin trialling a system where the two gangs can apply for basic community work—such as mowing lawns, trimming hedges, and cutting back foliage.

Since forming in the 60s and 70s, both Mongrel Mob and Black Power have shared a violent rivalry spanning decades. The gangs have been involved in drug trafficking,alleged murder, and robbery—but last year the groups surprised everyone by suddenly making peace. The men then joined forces in a submission to the Dunedin City Council, asking for help in acquiring paid work to support their families.

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull told VICE the work trial was a “breakthrough,” as it kept the gangs reconciled. “It’s remarkable they’re working together. They’ve had a long history of just shooting each other,” he said. “But I think they’re both beginning to realize that violence won’t provide them much of a future anymore.”