The arrival of the Outlaws means New Zealand now hosts all three of the largest motorcycle clubs in the world. They join the Hells Angels, which formed in the early 1960s, and the recently established Bandidos.
The Outlaws originally formed in Illinois in 1935 but now exist all around the world and are recognisable by their modified use of the ‘skull and cross bones’ back patch, with the bones being replaced by pistons. Known as ‘Charlie’, the symbol was adopted by the club after a similar back patch was made famous by the film The Wild One staring Marlon Brando in 1954.
The Outlaws, which are incorporated as the American Outlaw Association (AOA) have gained its foothold in New Zealand by patching over a club of the same name that was established in Napier, New Zealand in 1968, but up until this point had friendly relations but no formal affiliations with the AOA.
The Outlaws of Australia have a longer history in New Zealand than that, however, having had associations with the South Island based Devil’s Henchmen back in the 1990s, before the groups fell out.
Apart from the patch-over, plans are also afoot to start a supporter club in Auckland under the name Black & White 15 with the goal of forming a second chapter. The name is derived from the colours of the club, and O, for Outlaw, being the 15th letter of the alphabet.
The establishment of the AOA further highlights the growth in the outlaw motorcycle scene in New Zealand generally. The beginning of this upsurge was signalled by the arrival of Australia’s biggest outlaw club the Rebels in 2010 and since then several new groups have formed.
While there are those in Auckland who support the AOA and have Australian connections, any formal support group established there will need the approval of the Napier chapter. Currently, Napier has no plans to establish a Black and White 15 group in Auckland.