The Gangs of Zion

In Mormon Country, young Polynesians search for identity — and for escape from a seemingly unstoppable cycle of violence

  • At the Manhattan Club in downtown Salt Lake City, Pacific Islanders flashed gang symbols and both traditional and gang-related tattoos. The day after this photo was taken, several of the men (not those pictured) attended services at the Mapusaga Ward, a Samoan-speaking congregation of the Mormon Church

    JT Thomas
  • Samoan-Americans Fiailoa and March Malaeulu and their daughter Chessleeann, members of the Mapusaga Ward, mix Mormon culture with Island culture. Thanks in large part to the church, Pacific Islanders are perhaps Utah's fasted growing ethnic group. Mapusaga ward leaders estimate that their congregation grows by half every year

    JT Thomas
  • Young Samoans pray during Sunday school at Mapusaga. Insiders say that gang members use church services and events to network and recruit on the sly. A Web site for Pacific Islanders in Utah recently editorialized, 'Most Tongan gang members in Utah are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We've always known this, yet we don't talk about it..

    JT Thomas
  • Miles Kinikini, who now sells trucks and SUVs at Larry H. Miller Truckland, flashes signs associated with the Tongan Crip Gang. When the police arrested them, says Kinikini, the first question he and his friends would ask was, 'This won't prevent me from going on my mission, will it?' Kinikini says he's settled down in recent years, but there are still temptations: 'There's a bullet hole in my front window. I wanted to avenge that, but I thought better.'

    JT Thomas
  • Members of the Salt Lake City Police Department's Metro Gang Unit keep a close eye on the crowd outside Club Mangattan, where a young gangster was shot earlier this year. In the first six months of 2005, Salt Lake area gangs were responsible for 132 assaults, 20 robberies, 16 drive-by shootings and two homicides

    JT Thomas
  • West Valley City police officer Umu Manatau with his police portrait and family photos. Three of Manatau's five sons have tangled with the law for their involvement in gangs. 'I was not aware at all,' he says. 'The way they did it was secret.'

    JT Thomas
  • Umu Manatau (L) sits with friend and fellow police officer Cliff Chase. Once, when Chase heard a rival gang was targeting Manatau's sons, he sat in his car outside their house, guarding it for three straight nights. Polynesian gang members once shot up Chase's house, just missing his sleeping nephew

    JT Thomas
  • Kuli Pupunu says he has left his gang days behind. Today, he works full time, goes to school at night, and makes music with his friends in a basement studio. The studio is affiliated with Aiga Records, an all-Polynesian indie, hip-hop, hard-core and rap company that tries to put a positive light on Polynesians. 'Some of us are gangsters, some of us were gangsters, but we do this (make music) because it is a better thing to do for all Polys.'

    JT Thomas
  • A sign on Skull Valley Road points to Iosepa, the site of a former settlement of Mormons from the Pacific Islands. The church evacuated the settlement in the early 1900s, after disease and harsh winters took a serious toll on the population. Despite the hard times, many settlers cried on their way out of Iosepa, prompting the name, 'the trail of tears.'

    JT Thomas

On Oct. 14, 2003, a warm, Indian summer night settled over Utah’s Wasatch Mountains. At Club Suede, a nightclub just outside of the resort town of Park City, a crowd gathered to see reggae musician Lucky Dube. Patrons spilled out onto the club’s outdoor patios. Inside, they hovered shoulder-to-shoulder in the close confines of the club, a glassy, angular second-floor space that jutted out from a strip mall toward the sagebrush-studded meadows of Summit County.

The show was a reunion of sorts for young Pacific Islanders, many of whom had made the trip up from the Salt Lake Valley. Famously large, and often tattooed, the young men and women had roots in Tonga, Samoa, Hawaii and other Pacific Island groups. They crowded in with brothers, sisters and cousins, amping up for Dube’s outspoken lyrics and mellow backbeats.

The good-natured revelry was short-lived.

Just after the band began to play, pushing and shoving broke out in the audience. Someone in the front threw beer onto Dube. Suddenly, a group of men attacked 30-year-old Kautoke Tangitau, also known as “Toke.”

They assaulted him on the dance floor and then dragged him out to the balcony, where they stomped on his body and kicked him in the face. The fighting swiftly escalated into what police described as a riot; dozens of clubgoers traded blows.

Sheriff’s deputies called to the scene ordered Lucky Dube to stop playing and the patrons to evacuate the club. But it was too late for Toke Tangitau: Under the bassy beats of the band, none of the police — and few of the revelers — heard the shot from the .22-caliber handgun that punched into his heart from point-blank range. As fighting erupted over his body, he bled to death in the mountain air.

It didn’t take sheriff’s deputies long to find the signs of gang conflict: As the crowd poured out of the club, they found graffiti scrawled in marker on Club Suede’s walls, and heard shouts — “Glendale will make good on this!”

Detectives later learned that Tangitau was a longtime member of the Tongan Crip Gang, a Polynesian street gang that had started in California and spread to Salt Lake Valley. His attackers were members of the Baby Regulators, another Tongan gang, and one of the Tongan Crips’ most hated rivals.

The violence at Suede was the eruption of tensions that had been building for years between the gangs. But it was also maddeningly ordinary: Islanders shooting other Islanders has become routine in Salt Lake gang life, which, contrary to popular belief, is now worse than ever.

In the Intermountain West, gangs have pervaded cities like Albuquerque, Phoenix and Denver for decades. Now, smaller cities such as Reno and Boise have serious gang problems, too. According to the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, 91 Western cities outside of California have reported gang problems. They include Cheyenne, Wyo., Great Falls, Mont., Twin Falls, Idaho, and Grand Junction, Colo. Gangs are even turning up in towns as small as Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and Lake Havasu City, Ariz. They’ve arrived in rural Indian Country as well.

The Salt Lake City area, despite its clean-cut reputation, has all the ingredients to create gang culture, according to the National Youth Gang Center: ineffective families and schools; kids with too much free time; limited career opportunities; and segregated, often ghettoized, neighborhoods.

Utah has its share of domestic violence, as well. Last year, 23 people died as a result of violence in the home. And according to a recent report from the governor’s office, the numbers are on the rise.

Salt Lake City’s gang violence, once thought to be under control, has escalated in recent years. From 2001 to 2004, the number of documented gang members in the Salt Lake Valley rose from 3,781 to 4,544. In 2003, the number of serious gang-related crimes was double that of two years earlier. Last year, Salt Lake Valley gangs were responsible for 94 aggravated assaults, 54 robberies, 97 drug offenses and six homicides. There are dozens of Latino gangs claiming allegiance to the California gangs Sureños and Norteños; there are Southeast Asian gangs who rob their fellow immigrants’ stashes of cash, hidden away because of their distrust of banks; there are bands of racist skinheads, and even young Straight Edge gangs who punish those who smoke or drink.

Polynesian kids don’t seem to fit the profile of gang members, however. Most Pacific Islander families are the picture of stability. And most Polynesian families in Utah belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the pillar of family values and respectability. Because of the Mormon Church, in fact, Utah is home to the largest Tongan, Samoan and other Pacific Islander communities in the United States outside of Hawaii and California.

Yet while Islanders make up only about 1 percent of the Salt Lake Valley’s population, they comprise 13 percent of the documented gang members. Detectives say that Polynesian gangs stand out due to their violence. Because of their intimidating physical size, their members often serve as enforcers for other gangs that traffic in drugs. They’re known for their brutal fistfights, and for shooting at their rivals and at law enforcement officials.

Polynesian parents find it hard to believe that their churchgoing children are involved in the American scourge of gang violence. Their communities are supposed to embody everything this valley has stood for: family, faith and a new beginning.

But the “happy valley” in the heart of the Mormon Zion has become a crowded battleground. The Polynesian Saints traveled thousands of miles from one group of islands only to find themselves in another. On the west side of Salt Lake city, ethnic communities are islands unto themselves, surrounded by a sea of white suburbia; from the vantage point of West Valley City, Kearns, Taylorsville and West Jordan, the mountains that edge this valley only increase the sense of isolation.

For young Polynesians, what started as reasonable self-defense against other ghettoized ethnic groups, or else grew out of the centuries-old rivalry between Samoans and Tongans, has become a monster that has disfigured their powerful family allegiances. The church, for the most part, has left Polynesian families to fend for themselves. Now, the resulting cycle of violence is crashing down through the generations.

Mar 19, 2007 11:34 AM

its not good to be a crip nor a gang to much violence goin on

Apr 04, 2007 06:03 PM

this is truly inspiring, as a pacific islander  the most important things we get taught growing up is God,Love and Respect amongst our family and neighbours, as a tongan i understand the difficuilties a father can have trying to raise boys, especially for you families over there in the u.s.   malo and God bless.

Apr 10, 2007 10:53 AM

this is a geat article.. it helps to remind parents to take care of their kids or they will never see them again.  If you think being in a gang is great... your wrong, your only thinking of yourself and hurting those who love you... I'd like to thank the author of this article.. it shows that someone actually cares about the poly's out there in the world.

stop being selfish, and think of those who care for you all their lives..


May 01, 2007 03:30 PM

this is really an intriguing really happy to wander the net and see former tongan gang bangers give feed back on there ups and downs of there jorneys in the gang life..i got to learn alot especially having a baby sister and five brothers repping it's our pride..but hey cant blame them cuz im currently dating a gang member but every day i fear of loosing a loved one because of my boyfriend is in another CUH-RIP gang that doesnt get along with the gang that my brothers are in..but i think that im goning to get all my brothers to read this story..because i think it can inspire teens and bangers to be more for there family than just BANG!!!..thanx to the people who made this and was included..


May 09, 2007 12:23 PM


May 14, 2007 11:25 AM

Alot of my friends are baby regulators and tcgs and they all have mixed reactions when i ask, "is this the life you wana live for the rest of your life". alot of them say its the only life they'll ever live. some say they are gona get out if they graduate, but if they dont they'll just stay in. others tell me they try and try to get out but its just too easy to slip into their old habits. I honestly believe that my friends that are in gangs are good people that just make bad decisions because these streets influence bad behavior. their poor they're defensless and their parents let them go free in this world without caring what they do, in alot of cases. so they find comfort in their peers and sadly their peers are gang members. suddenly that comfort becomes pride and they start to live that gang life we all hear about through out the whole west side of salt lake. ive seen too many kids throw away their lives to this gang bullshit. it is my opinion that the best way to get kids out of gangs is the basic concept of reward over punishment. instead of telling the young generations the consequence of gang life. we ought to tell them the rewards of living a gang free life. show them alternatives to gangs like colledge sports programs in schools and even start schoarship funds for kids who escape gang life to pursue a better life. kids join gangs alot of the time cause they have nothing better to do. lets prove them wrong. 

May 21, 2007 12:18 PM

My first week in SLC consisted of hearing news about Tongans and Samoans "beefing" and whatever-it made me laugh that these friggins are actually going at it like its a popularity thing. Back home, the two islands get along real good, I went to school with Tongans, I know a lot of Tongans and yet Im full samoan, what the heck is wrong here? NOTHING - Im begining to see why theres feud between the islanders, and thats being raised here in the mainland with just bits of the culture being taught.  As I read this report, which is actually the first article i've ever read through in my life, I felt motivated to go out and do something about it-but what can I do, thank goodness to Mike Brunt and his program, hopefully more and more teenagers take advantage of this to change their lifestyle instead of using it to recruit members, and may I say that was very disrespectful of them to use sacred meetings to recruit, WHO DA HELL DO YOU PEOPLE THINK YOU ARE?

May 22, 2007 06:03 PM

look i ain't trying to let nobody down but i am a "g" and i don't have to wear whatever clothes and whatever color, i don't have to det or buy a gun, i don't have to join anybody's gang.....if ur a g den let it be n just keep ur shit to urself....u ain't got to let ur anger affect others and get them killed too....respect and love is what this stupid-ass world needs.....

May 23, 2007 12:07 PM

I understand why us polys joined gangs and yes, it is very understandable, but what we must remember is that matu'a came to this country for a better lyfe so why ruine our lives in vain. We climbed on the backs of the matu'a now we act as if we did it ourselves. To the tongan kids out there all i have to say is 'Oua 'e li'aki e ngaahi anga faka-Tonga!!!

May 23, 2007 03:46 PM

i really think this is nice for ppl to read about us tongans maybe it would help family that got tongan crip members in there family. i got 4 brothers that are in the tonga crip gang...and i really dont think that it cool. and when my other family members try to talk to them they alway got something to say. so i thinlk all i can do for now is juss pray that everything is gonna be okay. and hope to god that they would turn into the right path. you ppl out there reading this might think my family dont care and juss lets the bois do what ever but it not even like that

May 30, 2007 11:25 AM

I am of Tongan-Samoan heritage - my great grandparents on both my mother's and father's side were full blooded Tongan.  However, my parents were raised in Samoa before immigrating here to NZ.  I am proud of my heritage - the good side of it anyway.  For example, the true meaning of 'alofa' which is 'to always leave another individual better off from having known you', thereby your engagement makes a difference for good in the world.  Alofa is not a passive notion but based upon action for looking out for each other. 

However, I am not proud of my Polynesian temper - like a cancer it seeks vengence over forgiveness, over alofa, over looking out for others.  Basically, it is the antithesis of what alofa is because it stops you from looking out for others to satisfying what you want for yourself. 

Gangs are not based on brotherhood or kinship - they are poor imitations.  If you want to find true kinship, true connections and true brotherhood then you need to go back to the basics taught to you by your parents and church leaders.  Only the Priesthood of God found in the gospel of Jesus Christ exercises true alofa!

Jun 11, 2007 11:38 AM

As individuals of the "right" church, members should be take their responsibility of representing what they believe in and their church. Hypocracy is one thing that brings down the integrity of a church, you can't ignore this one problem as one part of the world that does not represent the whole "true" church. The fact that members still feel the need to relate to gangs shows the validity and strength the Mormon teachings are. 

When you let God in, all things are possible.

Jun 25, 2007 04:25 PM

I don't care if these gang bangers from the 3rd world remove each other from the American populous, I just wish they would stop ruining my beloved America. They are a waste of American taxmoney and I hope that no innocent American is caught in the crossfire. We really need to have a time out on immigration to this country.

Katie T
Katie T
Sep 19, 2010 11:40 PM
I am a caucasian american woman married to a Tongan man. For you to say we need an imigration time out is so ignorant. There are "white" gangs just as gangs of minorities. You are ignorant. Your family once migrated here and I wish they would have had a time out when you became a concept. Stop believing you are the truer race and contributing to the "race war".
Jun 28, 2007 11:30 AM

i hardout rep TCG..tho not as bad as i use to bak  brother got shot in a drive by,my cuzn was stabbed and shot in the heart this was all due to gang violence there deaths made me wake up..even little kids are geting killed because pepol think that revenge is the dad is a minister at the free church of tonga hea in new zealand..daily him and my mother would akonaki'i me and my brothers to seek to the lord for guidence and help and to get out of the whole gang crap before its too late..yet we decided not to listen to our parents words of wisdom and do our own thing..i am embarrest for my parents becoz here they are teaching pepol about the lord and yet theyre own kids are shooting pepol and thinking we all tuff and breaking the law..taking pepols lives especially wen theyre innocent and fighting brings nothing but hatred and sadness..we are all tongans it shouldnt matter what gang u in or what u be representing we are from the same country and hav grown up from the same roots..instead of killing each other why not staand together and save each many more pepol u wana kill and hurt before ur satisfyed worse how many loved ones u wana loose before u change ur ways..up to u if u but i jus dont want any of you to go thru the pain that i had to suffer.. oua e totongi e kovi aki ae kovi

1lov and godbless
Aug 08, 2007 11:35 AM

wat a wonder tongans and other polys are gettin a bad name...freakin tongans killin tongans...

leilani faleafa
leilani faleafa
Oct 08, 2010 01:29 PM
usi! tuku ho'o fie poto na tei pa'i koe ke ke siko!
real tongan noes how to speak tongan!!!
Aug 27, 2007 11:40 AM

All of you you need to learn how to SPELL. You sound like freakin retards!

Aug 30, 2007 10:50 AM

I grew up in Glendale. Out of the 20 or so friends i had in seventh grade at glendale intermediate back in the mid 90's about three of us walked (graduated) with our class in high school. The others had become casualties of the hood.(gangs, unplanned pregnancies, locked up ect.) The reality of it all is this, with out an outlet (football) the church (pioneer ward), and a great and very involved father i would have been a statistic myself. There is a strong loyalty to the neighborhood or kolo where u from, regardless if your mormon, catholic, wesylana, u grow up with a sense of family amongst your dearest of friends.In my opinion thats where the danger starts, as you become close to friends, you distance your self from authority figures in your life and their council. Before you know it, its too late. When you finally realize that those authority figures(parents, youth leaders, bishops) were right. Your probably reading in second Nephi in DT , decker lake, or even county. Before you get to that point yours must be a conscience disesion, not loyalty to friends but to family and leaders. We as a people are naturally spiritual, one of cornerstones of tongan culture is LOVE, and the questions indeed has to be asked "Where do we think that LOVE comes from" and "Where does LOVE really come from" as we realize the answer to the first question, the latter becomes more apparent. Our parents will never abandon us no matter what, theirs is LOVE thats UNCONDITIONAL. The hard part for us as first generation tongan-americans, is dealing with the generation gap. With our parents growing up in Tonga, trying to relate to children to growing up in the hip hop, paris hilton, micheal vick, culture of America as we know it. Misunderstanding, Clashes of culture are inevitable. The responsibility therein lies on us. Our parents can plead ignorance, but we cannot. This potential to overcome is within each of us. My father was not the smartest guy in the world, nor was he able to relate to me, more than my friends fathers had with them, But i came to an understanding that all he wanted the best for me, in his broken english he would say "Time keep on going", translation "keep moving forward". This became common ground in an otherwise uncommon relationship. That even though he relied on the teachers of the public schools system, sunday school, YM leaders to teach me, his intention was for me in a BLIND FAITH kind of way was to "Keep on going".

Sep 17, 2007 12:11 PM

'oku  masani 'a e me'a kotoa ka ai 'a e 'ofa 'i 'api.
thank you all for helping bright the world, community, church, families, country, parents.                                                           

Sep 17, 2007 12:38 PM

<b><font color=green>wass good??.... well i juss wanted to write and say that, I mean, I use to bang red and things like that. But when I started to finally realize why my mom didnt let me wear so much red.... it was bekause so many poly's and other people would juss get shot on the spot for wearin the wrong kolor.... no wat im sayin??.... so i dropped all that and now, im doin school and im doin aiight, but there are some little times that when things go down, i have to be there.... you know what i mean??.... but then i have second thought bout my life and my mom, and family..... so i juss tell the homies, you know, juss think about your life and your future., if anythings goin to happen, juss in case.... so i juss tell them a lil sum sum see if it will get through there head, so chea..... well i juss wanted to do a lil shout out, to whoever, and you if your readin this, but chea aiight then......TaKE CaRE.....

Sep 19, 2007 11:30 AM

we'd travel a distance to come here..... for what. may GOD  help us all. 

Sep 24, 2007 11:59 AM

im a married man that grew up in cali than later moved to utah.i was influenced by the gang life ever since i was 5 yrs old.i joined a gang i got close to from many occassions that  they had my back,i banged regulatas to the fullest.being in and out of juvenile corrections and jail was my life the hood was came to a point that i even had family from rival gangs but i didnt give a dayum about.from the prayers of my mother and father i evntually pulled through,dont get me wrong im still down for my set,but i just dont go around raising havock.the messagge i want to leave to the younger generation is dont forget where we came from and what our parents and grandparents sacraficed to get us here!dont forget how we were brought up Fale lotu,api ako,api!!!!the homies will always be there but when worse comes to worse Famili comes first!!!!!OFA ATU, LIL CUZZINS

Oct 03, 2007 11:30 AM

much love to all polys. unfortunately, its easier said than done. by nature im a funloving guy. but its very difficult to enjoy yourself when everywhere you go in SL, rival members shoot at you. so i shoot back! dont ever ask me to turn the other cheek, cause i could be dead by then. we polys are the most grudging and vengeful race, and you of all people should know that. i've never had problems with tongans until i moved to salt lake! i've never had problems with other samoans until i moved to california! if they dont stop shooting at me, i wont stop shooting back. i have no problem with going fist to fist, since its part of our culture to fight. its also part of our culture to love. so, much love to all the neutral polys and our elders. take care of yourselves and be safe out there.

Oct 15, 2007 11:09 AM

Its Such a pity that even after reading this article that there are still people who are ignorant and still "rep" their "hoods", 

Polynesian Gangs in Australia are starting to make their mark in various places

The comment before about Goodna Gangs made me laugh. I'm mostly samoan and I am proud to be i also am a member of the church of jesus christ of latter day saints. That comment from the U.F.O "gangsta" and i quote

"but yea i live in a blood hood where if you wear blue you get shot at or jumped.......yeah Most Bloods are on the westside/southside"

i wouldn`t put it to that extreme, long gone are the days when people could walk around goodna at night and not be confronted by an enemy gang just waiting for someone to "jump" you. The Rivalry between the tongans and the samoans these days is ridiculous. But The thing is most of the samoan and tongan boys that "beef" it and "scrap" are all apart of the church. Pure mockery of the church and no respect at all for each other. I am so proud to hear when a polynesian brother makes it somewhere and still stands strong in the church. ie.

Kris Inu- Rugby League Player ( Parramata Eels)


Israel Folau- Rugby League Player (Melbourne Storm) 

Kris is samoan and Israel is tongan, yet they are the best of friends!

I hope one day, that we can all just live in harmony. Hopefully sooner then later!

Oct 22, 2007 02:55 PM

Thank you for this article. Both my parents came here from Tonga but was born and raised in California. The thing I find most interesting about this is that children are findings ways to justify why they're in gangs. A gang is family, it provides safety, to be completely honest that's all BS. I love it when I hear the ones that say there's no other way. I too have family that associates with the "gangsta lifestyle" but the reality still remains that its your decision to either join or not. What really kept me out of gangs and kept me in school was love. The love I have for my dad when he goes and 'iate when its hot as hell yet never complains, but rather does what is necessary for his kids to have and to strive for something better. The love I have for my mom who used to tanaki ngeesi kapa to recycle so we could have extra money when the raining season came around and my pops would be out of a job. This is my motivation to never hurt my parents, and to one day tell my folks that they dont have to work anymore and just be content knowing that their son didn't waste the sacrafices they made so that we could have a better life. God has blessed me with hardworking parents and an understanding to appreciate everything they 've done for my life. So to all you "thugs, playas, gangstas" remember who's always gonna be there for you regardless.. GOD and something to make them proud...

Nov 09, 2007 04:10 PM

salt lake city should be considered a state... of emergency!!!!!!!!!

Nov 12, 2007 01:29 PM

yo all of us polys need to look out for one another.  this violence is not doing the communities any good and giving the POLYNESIAN name a bad root and name.  We need to leave our past the past, now we to focus on the future and on the younger generation because those are our leaders.  Our parents came here for a reason and its not to join gangs and kill each other.  Its to have a better life and live in peace.  


                                to all you polys,  "ofa atu, and may god bless."

Nov 20, 2007 05:52 PM

ummmmm....very interesting!!

Nov 21, 2007 11:50 AM












Dec 11, 2007 05:35 PM

I know what it feels like to be in a gang because my family is from a lot of gangs. one gang coming for you one after a nother you are scared at first but then you get used to i live in compton by the twats area palmer block park village and sons of samoa tongan 4 life tongan crip gang. Its not the easyest thing in the world but I say its easyer to get in then to get out ecause it is the same way you get in but harder because you dont want to see your hmoies get killed and blame it on your self. My auntys and uncles are down for there hood my aunty from sons of samoa they used to call her lady crip. But i think it better to stay out of a gang because would you like to see your loved one die in your hands and then you take your anger out on them because they killed your loved one.My uncle died from leukema it heut me bad because I havent seen him in a long time it was time for his funirol and I did not get to go because my mom siad there was no room. I hurt at first then I siad to myself god must have punished me for what I did I thought to myself its my uncles funerule I should go on his behalf. But it is still good to be in a gang so you can keep your cousins or familys back wouldn't you like someone to watch your back day and night just like jesus dose to usiii

Dec 31, 2007 07:40 AM

Thanks for all the great articles...just stumble in it and WOW! very interesting! I'm a Samoan and been living in Colorado since 1983. I've been in and out of the country (Phillipines, Korea & Japan). Keep up the great work - both in teaching our poly youths and great articles..


Patricia Gasu McGinn

Jan 25, 2008 06:07 PM

As a proud Samoan-American reading articles such as these influence me to be more aware of my surroundings and more conscience of the events that are happening within our polynesian community. It doesn't matter if you're blood or crip, tongan or samoan, because these palagi's and society categorize us ALL as being the same. On a personal level I think we as polys are a chosen people, but many of us don't realize it.

Reading this article pisses me of as well. It just brings a negative light to the polynesian youth. Not every poly youngter is participating in gangs, and those who aren't fimiliar with polynesian people can become stereotypical. And why do the negative acts of a certain group get more attention than the positive things that are happening within the polynesian community. Have you guys not heard of the term a "balanced media."

The death of "Toke" is not only sad to me but it is also embarassing. I say this because of the place where this incident occured. He was killed at a Lucky Dube concert! Reggae concerts are place of unity and celebration. What happened that night goes against everything Lucky sang about. I know from first hand how it is to gang bang, being that I have family and friends in gangs and I myself was a gang member. It's important for those who have children to teach them of such dangers and most importantly show them that you love them. We also need to seperate this bullshit from our places of worship. 

Apr 09, 2008 11:23 AM

This is a very inspiring story for many young boys who make the decision to be in a gang so it can help them have 2nd thoughts. Its not worth it because you never want to get caught up in something that was the LAST thing on your mind! Its scary, sometimes i feel like i can't even walk out of my house because i feel like my own BROTHERS' ENEMIES are going to shoot me to death. My house has been shot up more than 2 times already and its a frightening thought knowing someone wants to kill someone you care about, maybe even you! I read this story a long time ago, but somehow I found it on the internet and i just love this story. Its shows how much parents really care for theirs kids, but they make their own decisions to be part of the gang. I have older brothers who are in the regulator gang and it startles me knowing that they arent doing the right thing. Most of my brothers are married and you think that would change them, but sometimes they just want to go back to the "OLD LIFE". I love my brothers so much and I know they wouild do anything for me, but ill never want to lose them. Rocky has always been an older brother to me...he always calls me SIS! i love that guy so much! When i hear stories about him its just so hard to believe because he is this whole other person when he's around his SISTERS because he has respect for them! I love this story so much not only becaue its about our people, but because its REALITY! I hope one day we can all get along! Im tired of losing loved ones because of gang violence and its sad to see my brothers' enemies' family mourn for their loved ones because of gang violence! I hope and pray that one day we can all come together as ONE! everyone TAKE CARE!



Apr 28, 2008 11:53 AM

I'm glad they are fighting.  I need future employees to make my fast food and mow my lawn.  Keep up the good work, you all are also thinning out the stupid gene pool.  I'm an educated Tongan and would rather have my own people filling these requirements than the Hispanics.  Thanks for helping a brotha out.  

Feb 22, 2009 09:42 PM
   I think this was interesting, What happened to all that Poly Love that everone talks about that were known for? Its crazy because the people in West Valley that are mentioned in this article, I still hear rumors about. Like for one, Rocky's married but don't make him a changed person.I still hear that he's running around and who know's 2nd, Finau may have moved to Reno and erolled in school and married with kids, but does'nt stop him from coming back and forth from Reno to have family gathering and end up having a few cold ones. Then where do you think that's gonna lead to? Uhhhh huh....I dont like Rose Park, but they all must of grew up cause I dont hear anything about them anymore...But I do got to give it up to them Fonua's from Rose Park....RIP to mah nigga Mafile'o Fonua aka GRIZZ!!!! Much love to you and your Family!!!
Mar 11, 2009 01:37 AM
The "Poly's" are the most special people around ton..notice my excellent spelling...get it together you all know us white's "palagi's" love you much
bloody stupid idiots!
Jul 10, 2009 10:32 PM
 I know every single one of you are out doing ur thing at night in the streets, hustling, beating up some kid, stealing from whoever, giving grief to the wider community or just being plain old idiots and causing a messy havoc and wake up the next morning going to church as if nothing happened the night before.

Look at the bigger picture! i bet some are all grown men with kids and a wife at home wondering what the hell ur doing out every night with the boys? Act like men, do the right thing and hang up the flag. Be the father figure ur kids would want to see! Be an example to 'em! And to you little wannabe gangsters, you have it good in this life! Back in the days opportunity was scarce, the only thing us poly's knew was sport. We ddnt have opportunities in our day that would help us be better people. We were too dumb to graduate high svhool; so we had to look for jobs to support mum and dad.

we take for granted the sacrifices our parents made to have what we have now, a better life. I think we owe it to them. Give life another go, but this time, do it for real.

Much love to my uso's and tamasii's!

polynesian gangs in australia
Lorenzo Tangi
Lorenzo Tangi
Jul 20, 2009 10:31 PM
Although in Australia we dont go through as much drive-by's and homicides as they do in the U.S, our poly gang violence here looks like it'll never end. Just like those before the gangsters these days it takes more than just a few lessons, pictures and words to stop whats gotta be done. Growing up in a family where we are told from when we are litle "we are born crips" you kinda get the feeling you're protected everywhere you go, but its not like that. Not realising what our older brothers and cousins had to go through jus so we could walk down the road, you know, we thought we were sweet but it was hard for them. Now that im older and have little siblings and little cousins we realise all we have to do just so our families can be alright. Yeah, we dont forget where our parents have come from just so we can be here today, we dont forget our cultures and customs over a few blue flags and a pair of chucks, and what some dont understand is that being a gangster isnt who we are, from the beginning it was never about who was the toughest, scariest or the strongest, it was always about standing up for our own.
peace, luv, n harmony
Jun 08, 2010 03:54 PM
first and for most i want to thank our heavenly father for his continuous guidence and blessings he has thrust upon us. rest in peace to all our brothers and sisters we have lost because of nonsense like these. i always wonder why do our people committ such crimes and especially to each other. we were brought up and taught bye our parents to love and respect one another, yet, they disobey and is lead to a life they cannot get out of, and the only way is thru a body bag. we were brought out here bye our parents for a reason. they brought us here hoping we would receive a good education so that we can grow up and have a future, something they never had back home in the islands. polynesian kids these days i think are just little "fie me'a kotas" thinking they are the shit if they bang whoopty whoop. little do they know they make themselves look like arrogant little ta'es. no life at all, trust me! they dont realize how much pain they put their families in. i was born and raised in inglewood california, gang violence was like a walk to the park for me. all i wanted to do was to get out of that neighborhood and find me a life. my brothers and cousins all banged tongan crip and i was ammuned to this life style. i was shot twice in the head, there was no way for me to live such a blow to the head, but my family and friends constant prayers and beliefs in the lord almighty helped me live my life once more. i believe god gave me a second chance to live my life to help and make a difference in my community and in my peoples way of life.28 years after the incident i am now living in new york city working as an executive assitant for one of the wealthiest man in america, yes i mean bill gates. until now my family still lives in inglewood and is living the life from my success. if i can change my world and life around, any body can if they just believe and give their all to their work and to god, then you'll accompplish in anything coming your ways. forgive, forget and believe!
Bryan Hill
Bryan Hill
Apr 28, 2011 08:29 AM
I was raised in a tough neighbourhood in the 80s with some of the toughest boys in the World like K1 Champion Mark Hunt, who lived four houses over from us and Boxer David Tua who I went to school with.
We all grew up watching Mike Tyson training hard and wanting to be like him, we learnt the value of a good work ethic. As we grew older, we realised the value of an education and of being business savvy.
As we grew smarter, we began to appreciate the value of our love for God, our family and for others.

Our parents, when they came to these foreign lands (My parents came to NZ), I bet could not imagine the effect that Western life would have on us. But we have the opportunity to be an example to others...not just learn from our own mistakes.
I entreat all my poly brothers and sisters to use what comes naturally to you - your love of people and each other to enhance your life and pass on those lessons to our young people.
Much Alofas/Ofas/Aroha/Aloha