Belinda Feek is a NZ Herald reporter

Tribal Huks - who is the gang taking on P dealers in Ngaruawahia?

The Tribal Huks have a history of attacking those they don't want in their town of Ngarauwahia.

The gang gave meth dealers in its Waikato town 24 hours to leave - and they say they'll only ask nicely the first time.

Tribal Huk gang leader Jamie Pink delivered the ultimatum to drug dealers last night.

Pink said the deadline ended at 6.30pm today and after asking once, visits would begin to those who hadn't gone, Fairfax reported.

Originally, formed in the 1970s, the Huks were formed to protect themselves and the township from larger street gangs such as the Head Hunters and Mongrel Mob, which occasionally made trouble in either of the town's two pubs.

A former member of the gang, who did not want to be named, said the Huks were named after an anti-Japanese movement.

Read more:
Ngaruawahia gang leader tells drug dealers: Leave - or else

The Hukbalahap started in 1942 during the Japanese occupation of Philippines, eventually mustering an army against the Japanese forces in Central Luzon. The Huk Resistance, as it became popularly known, used guerrilla warfare to establish strongholds in villages, providing protection for locals and enforcing their own form of justice.

"Originally, they were called the Huks, the Tribal Huks came about only about 10 years ago and they are the next generation. Some of them will be sons and nephews of the original Huks. From the beginning, you had to be from Ngaruawahia to join.

"It really started after there was huge brawl in the street between locals and the Head Hunters who were passing through. It happened outside the Delta Tavern. After that, it was decided some of them needed to get organised. From then on, if there was a fight at one of the pubs, all the Huks and their whanau would go down there and establish order. They would all be there the next night. The Huks brought people from both sides of the [Waikato] river together."

The former member, who left in the 1980s after being told to choose between the group and his family, said some of the original Huks tattooed their children with the gang patch. "I continued to watch their backs and they continued to watch mine.

"It all sort of died down for a while until the Tribal Huks came about around 2005. It's made up of the younger ones now but the older ones still command respect, a lot of them are their own children or whanau, but there's a lot more of the Tribal Huks than there were of the Huks at any one time.

"Like all gangs, they have some idiots but they have done a lot of good for the community. Some of the Huks have never been in trouble with the law.

"Overall, there's been good and bad but overall I think the town has been better for it. If they hadn't started up, there would be one of the other big gangs in the town and Ngaruawahia would have lost a lot of their youth to other gangs."

Pink has been the leader for the past decade.

He first hit the headlines in 2007 after his daughter was approached and offered P.

Armed with a sledgehammer, he and his members smashed up the dealer's pad, kicking the dealers out of town.

They are now, and have been for a while, the only gang in Ngaruawahia.

Since his run-in with the law, Pink has vowed to put the community first.

The Huks, who are based on 20ha of farmland on the outskirts of the town, are now most notable for their work making sandwiches for schoolchildren - up to 1000 a day for up to 40 schools on their roster, which stretches into Hamilton.

A charity, Kai 4 the Future Foundation, has also been set up with community leaders onboard as signatories to the foundation's accounts.

But it hasn't been smooth sailing for Pink, who also hit the headlines late last year after being found with cannabis. He was convicted in the Hamilton District Court and apologised for his actions.

And he's back in the limelight again after telling a community meeting last night that after conducting his own personal survey of kids in the town about P, 75 per cent of them were users.

He says that's why he took the opportunity to stand up and lay down the ultimatum. At 6.30pm today, he said, they will begin to make their "visits".

- NZ Herald

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