Gang veterans ride against family violence

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FRONTING: Rex Timu will ride the full eight days of the lower North Island White Ribbon ride. PHOTO FILE
FRONTING: Rex Timu will ride the full eight days of the lower North Island White Ribbon ride. PHOTO FILE

Veterans of two Hawke's Bay gangs will bike alongside each other in the fight against domestic violence in the White Ribbon Ride which starts in Feilding today.

It will be the fourth time on the annual ride for Mongrel Mob Hastings president Rex Timu, who will ride the full eight days of the lower North Island ride to its end in Whanganui next Friday.

But it will be the first time for former Black Power leader Mane Adams, of Taradale, who plans to join the Hawke's Bay sector of the ride on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Both men are encouraging other members to take part, to "support the kaupapa", which Mr Timu has been "on" since at least 2008, when he spoke at a White Ribbon Day gathering in Hastings, alongside an MP and a senior police officer, and sons Royal, then aged 7, and Monte, 3.

He had been leader just a few months but was already encouraging members and families to put an end to violence in their lives.

Relating how "booze" had interfered with his life and was behind his aggression at home, he was reported as saying after what was his first dab at public speaking: "You could call me a hypocrite I guess, because I've been there. But there's no sense in it now.''

He told how he awoke one morning and decided he had hit his partner for the last time, he didn't want his five children repeating his mistakes, and he wanted to do something about stopping other young men from going down similar troubled paths.

Now, Mr Timu and partner Michele look forward to celebrating their 30th anniversary together, with Royal, 15, now at Te Aute College, and Monte, 11, nearing the end of his primary school years.

A former forklift supervisor in a fruitpacking operation, and having studied Maori at the EIT, Mr Timu is now regional field worker for nationwide change trust Waka Moemoea, working with "hard-to-reach" families and youths growing up in communities such as Camberley and Flaxmere.

Success he marks by such things as seeing a young man exiting the ranks of unemployed, going into a job, and providing for the family.

"I think we are making ground," he says. "A lot of the people are pretty hard to work with, and change has got to come over time - some of it can take years. It's all positive."
Mr Adams has been involved in similar initiatives, and says it is now rare to see "our boys" in trouble for family violence.

The White Ribbon Ride arrives in Hawke's Bay from the south on Tuesday, and will be at Dannevirke South School (1-2.30pm), and at Te Waireka Youth and Whanau Services, Otane (4.15-5pm). On Wednesday it will be at Omahu School (9-10am), Napier's Richmond School (10.30-11.45am), and Sherenden School (12.30-1.30pm), on the way to Taihape.

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