What is this about?

On 13 August the Prohibition of Gang Insignia in Government Premises Act 2013 came into force. The Act does several things.

The Act makes the display of gang insignia on government premises without reasonable excuse an offence, and it gives Police a number of powers to enforce the Act.

It prohibits the display of gang insignia on the premises of Public Service departments, the Police, Crown entities, local authorities and schools.

This includes associated buildings such as playing fields and courts connected to a sports or recreation facility, or a car park associated with a government building. There must be a “structure” on the premises for the definition to apply.

It does not apply to any residential dwelling owned by, or under the control of, Housing New Zealand Corporation or a local authority.

What is a gang?

A gang is:

  • any organisation, association or group of persons that is known by a name that is the same as, or substantially similar to, those listed below, or

  • an organisation, association or group of persons specified as a gang by regulation.

  • An organisation, association or group may be identified as a gang by regulation when the Minister of Police is satisfied it has the following characteristics:

    • a common name or identifying signs, symbols or representations, and

    • its members, associates or supporters individually or collectively promote, encourage or engage in criminal activity.

Gangs covered by the Act

Aotearoa Natives

Hells Angels MC

Mangu Kaha

Sinn Fein MC *

Bandidos MC

Highway 61 MC

Mothers MC

Southern Vikings MC

Black Power

Hu-Hu MC


Storm Troopers

Devils Henchmen MC


Outcasts MC

Taupiri MC

Epitaph Riders

King Cobras

Outlaws MC

Tribal Huk

Filthy Few MC

Lone Legion MC

Rebels MC

Tribesmen MC

Forty-Five MC

Lost Breed MC

Red Devils MC

Tyrants MC

Greasy Dogs MC

Magogs MC

Road Nights MC

Head Hunters MC

Mongrel Mob

Satans Slaves MC

* not being a branch, or an associated organisation, of the political party known by a similar name.

What is gang insignia?

Gang insignia is a sign, symbol, words or emblem displayed to denote membership of, affiliation with, or support for a gang. This includes any item of clothing a gang insignia is displayed on such as a jacket, t-shirt or scarf.

This does not include tattoos or clothing in gang colours.

Guidance for community workers

Informing the public

It is up to each organisation to decide how it wants to advise the public of this law change. A suitable notice for public display is available for your organisation to use if it wishes.

It is also up to each organisation to decide how it wants its staff to approach people who are breaking the law by wearing gang insignia on the premises. First and foremost it is important that staff and public are safe.

The rules of entry to premises should be explained so that the public are clearly informed about the consequences of not complying with the requirement to remove gang insignia.

To reinforce this rule, suggested standard signage has been developed. It is provided for downloading as a PDF file, attached above under 'Related resources'.

Applying the new law

You can exercise discretion when deciding on an appropriate response to someone in your premises wearing gang insignia. We need to provide public services even-handedly to all New Zealanders and therefore people need to be given the opportunity to remove gang insignia.

The person should be asked firmly but politely to remove the gang insignia as wearing it inside government premises is against the law.

If the person refuses to remove the item, they should be given at least two warnings to leave the premises. If they fail to leave the premises after those warnings, they can be considered to be trespassing at that point. You would then be entitled to seek assistance from the Police to remove them if necessary.

Certainly if the person is presenting a danger to staff or any other person, Police should be called to assist. Laying a complaint with Police regarding the behaviour could also be considered at this point.

Therefore a suggested approach could be:

  • Displaying signs that say gang insignia is not to be worn on the premises (signage is not a requirement under the Act)

  • Asking people who display gang insignia that they are not to do so and explaining why

  • Asking people who refuse to remove gang insignia to leave the premises and declining to provide service

  • Advising staff that if a person presents a threat to them or any other person on the premises that Police should be called to assist.

Please ensure you understand how your organisation wants you to implement this new rule.

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