Female Mongrel Mob chapter members won't wear back patches

Members of a newly announced female Mongrel Mob chapter won't wear back patches like their male counterparts.

The high-profile gang operates around the country through several independent chapters, and on Sunday, the Waikato-based Mongrel Mob Kingdom announced plans for a chapter for women - Mongrel Mob Wāhine Toa.

Paula Ormsby, who wants to lead the group, says the chapter was part of an effort to separate the Mongrel Mob Kingdom from other chapters.

Waikato chapter president Sonny Fatupaito said on Monday night that the gang had long been "empowering women and children giving them a forum for their stories to be told and acknowledging their place in the Kingdom."

"We have given them this space because uplifting women is paramount in their journey as Mana Wāhine, as it reasserts their status and position in our nation, families and communities."

The Mongrel Mob has a history of treating woman extremely poorly, including several notorious gang-rapes against both members of the public and women involved in the gang. Ormsby said past treatment of women associated with the gang was "atrocious".

Fatupaito said the women involved in the new chapter haven't asked to wear the gang's famous back patches like their male counterparts.

"Putting things back into perspective and clearing assumptions, our wāhine to my knowledge have not asked for back patches but for t-shirts and side patches, so they will not be wearing back patches at this point and time," he said.

Ormsby confirmed that to Newshub, saying for the meantime the group would just start off with similar t-shirts and keep it "casual". 

Mongrel Mob patch.
Mongrel Mob patch. Photo credit: The Hui.

Mongrel Mob Porirua member Dennis Makalio told RNZ that women had no right to wear the patch. 

"If they're going to try and talk to you about how they'd love to go forward with their families, their kids, they'd most probably get 100 percent support from all the chapters in New Zealand.

"But when it comes to our patches, I don't think so... wāhine have got nothing to do with the patch. Never has, never will."

Plans for the chapter have stoked division within the gang, with Fatupaito saying some see it as a "bombshell dropped".

"The Mongrel Mob has always been predominantly male, patriarchal, hyper-masculine but with the thought of birthing a women's chapter it has challenged the very core of its foundations and misogynist views across the board," he said in a statement.

"There has been a mixture of response from Mongrel Mob chapters outside the Kingdom who are interested in knowing the logistics of such a chapter.  Then there are others who have strongly voiced their disagreement."

Ormsby told Newshub that women have always been associated with the Mongrel Mob.

"We have always been there in some shape or form. The only difference will be that we will all be looking a little more familiar around the same type of clothing.

"Beyond that, nothing's changed."

While the chapter is a "Waikato initiative", she said "what this may ripple to, who knows in time".

According to NZME, the chapter will be running by the end of 2020.