Undercover Critic Te Arohi journalist gives insight into how they joined neo-Nazi group Action Zealandia

An undercover journalist who revealed insider information about one of New Zealand's largest white supremacist groups has given an insight into how they joined and what they were shocked by after gaining membership.

Elliot Weir, the features editor for Critic Te Arohi, the student magazine of the Otago University Student Association, spent six months undercover in Action Zealandia, a neo-Nazi organisation with nationwide membership that desires to create a "pure" white ethnostate in New Zealand. 

In a three-piece series for Critic, Weir revealed insider information obtained from within its ranks, including the group's steadfast support for the gunman who killed 51 people in the Christchurch mosque shootings in 2019.

Weir revealed to The Project that they were often shocked by what was discussed and said New Zealanders underestimate the prevalence of the group.

"Pretty much every day there'd be something that I'd be shocked by, although you get pretty numb to it quickly. But some of the worst stuff was regarding the Christchurch shootings and just basically defending the shooter and minimising the violence that took place," they say.

"But every day there's denigration of people of colour, of queer people, of anyone you can think of that isn't a straight, white, cis male. It definitely takes a toll."

They joined Action Zealandia by sending an email, but still had to go through a selection and vetting process. This included speaking over the phone and meeting up in person.

"They ask you a bunch of questions covering a whole range of topics, including how much you work out, which I definitely lied about. How many press-ups, how fast you can run one kilometre, they ask you about your political beliefs and why you want to join."

Weir says while they were never scared for their life while in the group, their time undercover showed them how easy it is to go down the "fascist pipeline".

Elliot Weir.
Elliot Weir. Photo credit: The Project

Despite them saying they can back up their stories with screenshots of group chats, Action Zealandia claims Weir's stories don't give evidence to support their allegations.

"Weir has written the article for personal gain and has not released anything about Action Zealandia that was not already known by anti-white activists," Action Zealandia told The Project in a statement.

The group says Weir "fabricated" most of the content in their stories because they had "little to no access to information regarding the group" and they had little access to group chats. Weir disagrees with this.

"I was in all of their main group chats and stuff, and everything we talked about in the piece is based on screenshots that I took of the chats or downloads of the chats."

Watch the video above.