Mongrel Mob opens doors to confront its dark history

A Hamilton chapter of the Mongrel Mob is taking a hard and public look at its history of violence, drug use and suicide.

The idea to throw open the doors and hold a "mana whanau" day came from the group's wahine.

It's not often that members of the public get to see the inside of a Mongrel Mob headquarters, but the organisers insisted it isn't a PR stunt and that members were there to confront the issues that they face.

And as a result, members heard harrowing accounts of violence and abuse.

It used to be a haven for members of the Mob, but on Saturday the doors to their Hamilton pad opened to politicians, media and whanau.

After 33 years as a Mongrel Mob member and 22 as a rangatira, Sonny Fatupaito led the Kingdom away from other chapters two years ago.

Fatupaito says the Mob is now focusing on education, health and employment while confronting the problems gang members have caused and suffered - problems like suicide, violence and alcohol and drug abuse.

Zania McCauley says she was in hell for 16 years with Te Teko Mongrel Mob president Hoani John Chase.

"I got dragged behind cars, I got beaten constantly, I got raped, I got tortured," she says.

Chase tattooed his initials in her neck and made her wear her hair in a bun.

"And that was to show everyone that I was his property," she says.

McCauley attempted suicide several times but survived to tell her story on The Hui. Now she's sharing it with members of a different chapter from her ex's - one she says, which has changed.

Patched gang members were seen hanging on to every word of what McCauley and others said.

The Kingdom says society is hanging on to views of gangs from the 70s, 80s and 90s, and that's why it has thrown open its doors for people to see the change.