The infamous Mongrel Mob of New Zealand is known for extreme violence and has long been regarded as the nation’s “monsters.” Founded in the ‘60s by a group of primarily European youth, in the ’70s the gang expanded to include numerous indigenous Māori. Today the gang’s members are largely Māori.
Mongrelism, a new book by Jono Rotman “offers a communion with this impenetrable fraternity,” writes the publisher, Here Press, in a statement. Portraits of the Mongrels illustrate their pride in both membership and identity, and the book
examines how the gang brands itself to uphold its hierarchy and history. The values at the core of the gang are those generally praised by society: perseverance, resilience, and loyalty.
Taking the form of a gang handbook, the order and grouping of images were determined by Mongrel Mob members and align with their geographic, familial and hierarchical relationships. “Rotman’s images have become a part of Mob history and their visual mythology,” writes Here Press. His collaboration with the members was essential to access and integral to the process.
A fourth generation white New Zealander, Rotman’s forebears were among the first to settle in the region where the Mongrel Mob began. The colonization and fragmentization of indigenous communities can be argued to have resulted in the Mongrel Mob. In Mongrelism, as in the history of New Zealand, the narratives intertwine.
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