For most small companies, having a media liaison is unattainable. But now one of New Zealand's most notorious gangs has a PR person.

Louise Hutchinson, an ex-Wellingtonian with no gang experience, has stepped into the role at the Waikato's Mongrel Mob Kingdom.

She was inspired to work with the Mob after seeing their response to the Christchurch Mosque attack.

"I saw their work, and I wanted to meet Paito [Sonny Fatupaito] because of his response."

Advertisement

READ MORE:
Mongrel Mob chapter hits back at police claims the gang does no good
Inside a Mongrel Mob workshop
Mongrel Mob Kingdom announces first female chapter
Mongrel Mob says women's chapter won't wear back patches

University of Canterbury director of criminal justice and leading gang expert Dr Jarrod Gilbert said Hutchinson's move was unusual but not unheard of.

"It's not unusual to find liberal, well-meaning people attracted to gangs because they see potential to turn the lives around of people that have had significant social and economic disadvantage."

He said typical gang recruits were from low socio-economic areas, were disadvantaged and often Māori.

Gilbert also said it could be an edgier way of volunteering.

Hutchinson said after losing her job at Suicide Prevention New Zealand she was drawn to the Waikato to assist her friend through a child uplift situation.

But after seeing the Kingdom's work first-hand she said she wanted to use her skills to help the Mob.

"Since seeing how this chapter works, I've taken it upon myself just to say I believe in what they're doing here and I want to work alongside them."

Advertisement

She said there was a distinct difference between the Kingdom and other chapters and wants to fight the stigma around gangs.

"We say that we want to have crime-free communities but as soon as we see something positive happening we stomp on it."

Hutchinson said she wasn't going to negate the horrific past of women in the gang, but she wanted to be a part of that healing.

She said she had received comments from people who were surprised by her new work.

"They're like, wow the Mongrel Mob has a public relations liaison, and they're quite surprised by that," Hutchinson said.

The Mongrel Mob Kingdom's leading woman, Paula Ormsby, also had a background working with those in need.

And like Hutchinson, Ormsby's induction into Mongrelism was relatively recent.

She became involved with the Kingdom through an early childhood education participation initiative.

She said when she joined people asked if she would be safe.

"Why shouldn't we work with them, why shouldn't we help them?" said Ormsby.

Police were unavailable to speak on Hutchinson's involvement but said in a statement that they still viewed the Waikato Mongrel Mob as a criminal organisation.

However, police did say they would welcome any examples of positive messaging and genuine movement by gangs away from criminality.

Last month Detective Sergeant Ray Sunkel, head of the police motorcycle gang unit, said in a conference that the Mongrel Mob was evolving but not at a fast enough pace.

"They're legitimising themselves, or trying to and engendering public sympathy," he said.

Kingdom leader Sonny Fatupaito responded by saying Sunkel's comments were offensive.