An outspoken voice in the club community in recent years, Waikato Mongrel Mob Kingdom leader Sonny Fatupaito was one of the first to recognise the threat of new clubs arriving from Australia and even mooted an alliance with rival Black Power. However, two of Fatupaito’s closest relatives defected from the Mob to expand the Comancheros into the Waikato.
Senior members of a high-profile Mongrel Mob chapter “patched over” to the rival Comanchero MC and started a new chapter in their former club’s backyard, in a move which vividly illustrates the rapidly evolving club.
The Waikato Mongrel Mob Kingdom has captured headlines in the past 18 months for establishing an all-female chapter, guarding their local mosque after the terror attacks in Christchurch, and hosting community events.
Their leader Sonny Fatupaito, a Mongrel Mob member for 33 years, says his chapter walked away from the club’s national council two years ago to forge a new kaupapa (founding values) of empowerment for those marginalised in society.
He was also one of the first New Zealand club leaders to warn of the threat posed by the incoming Australian motorcycle clubs, such as the Comanchero, established after members were deported from Australia after failing to meet the “good character” rules.
The arrival of the “501s”, nicknamed after the section of immigration act used to cancel visas, was described by Faitupaito as a “modern day land grab”. He even mooted an alliance with long-standing enemy Black Power to stand against the Australian interlopers.
However, as part of investigation into the growth of clubs across New Zealand – numbers have increased by 50 per cent in three years to now top 7000 – the Fatupaito’s own brother and nephew, once staunch members of the Waikato Mongrel Mob, have joined the Comanchero.
Photographs posted on social media show Dwight Fatu and his son Sonny Fatu Junior – named after his uncle – with Comancheros president Pasilika Naufahu and Jarome Fonua, the club’s treasurer.
One of the photos shows Naufahu with his arms around the father-and-son duo with the caption “Waikato Chapter is next”.
Just a few weeks after the photo was posted online, Naufahu and Fonua were among the hierarchy of Comanchero arrested and charged with money laundering and drug charges in April 2019 after Operation Nova.
The club’s vice president Tyson Daniels and an Auckland lawyer pleaded guilty and were sentenced earlier this year, although Naufahu and Fonua pleaded not guilty and are scheduled to stand trial in September.
Detective Superintendent Greg Williams, the head of the National Organised Crime Group, confirmed the Comanchero MC had expanded into the Waikato and Sonny Fatu Junior is in charge.
There was “clearly a very strong alignment” between the Waikato Mongrel Mob and the Comanchero because of the direct ties between the three Fatu men, Williams said.
“It’s interesting, isn’t it, that Sonny Fatu Senior has allowed this chapter to be set up in Waikato,” Williams said.
“He will obviously say that he did not have a choice or any control over this but he also has not come out and said anything about [the Comanchero] forming and members from the Waikato chapter patching over.”
Sonny Fatupaito did not respond to an interview request, or written questions, supplied to the Waikato Mongrel Mob’s media liaison adviser Lou Hutchinson.
You can discuss this material in our Facebook group!
Source: NZ Herald