Bikies share hope message
A Queenstown builder is making his way around Samoa on his Yamaha R1 this week with a couple of former bikie gang presidents on a Christian mission to reduce the disturbing rate of youth suicide there.
Carie McCarthy is becoming renowned in the newly formed first South Island branch of The Redeemed motorcycle ministry in Queenstown, for his distinctive custom-built "chopper" motorcycles.
But it was his laid-back personality and ability to relate on a real level to young people that attracted the attention of The Redeemed national president, former Headhunters motorcycle gang president and founder, Amos Ale, during a Redeemed mission to The Beach Hop motorcycle rally in Whangamata earlier this year.
"Carie's just at that age where he can relate to the young ones. He just says ‘that's how I roll' and pulls up on his bike in his skate shoes and jeans," Mr Ale said.
Mr McCarthy was flown over and his bike shipped over, free of charge, with Harleys and other large machines, to join a team of six Redeemed members, including Mr Ale and a former Mongrol Mob member, both Samoan, who will share the story of how they turned from "the bad scene" to Jesus and now share the Christian message of hope.
Authorities in Samoa heard about the New Zealand motorcycle ministry and invited the team over to help combat e huge problems with youth.
The "Ride for Life" around Samoan schools and youth groups would raise awareness about suicide and give young people a positive alternative.
"A lot of people think gang members don't change, but they do change and this message gives them hope," Mr Ale said.
"Saying ‘no' to your peers is nothing to be ashamed about. There's a lot of pride among those young ones, but we teach them that they can say ‘no' to things they don't want to do. They're ashamed in front of their mates and don't want to be called ‘a girl', but we tell them you're a better person if you can say ‘no'," Mr Ale, who formed The Redeemed in 1997, said.
Mr McCarthy said he was "pumped" at the opportunity to go to Samoa and just invested in a rare Misfit custom chopper.
"Hanging out with youth and riding bikes, that's my deal really," he said.
"We all love to ride, that's why we do it and we might as well do the other thing we love - that's being a light and sharing God. We use what we have without having to use words."
Queenstown Redeemed chairman Blair McKenzie said members were "absolutely stoked" Mr McCarthy was chosen for such an amazing opportunity.
The Queenstown Redeemed gave away almost 300 sausages and cold drinks at International Children's Day last month.