New Zealand

A New Family

Tuhoe Isaac, former prisoner and gang member, brings others to his new family in Christ.

Jess Fong

Tuhoe Isaac has spent almost 10 years in jail. Charges of assault, robbery and rape brought him again and again to a cement cell since age 16.

Returning after years overseas, Tuhoe, a member of the Maori people, had lost touch with most of his family.

“Coming home to New Zealand, the Mongrel Mob gang met my needs,” says Tuhoe.

He replaced his family with gang members loyal only to each other.

“We would do every evil thing possible,” says Tuhoe.

For 17 years, the Mongrel Mob consumed him. Finally, in 1989, his older sister, Juliana, visited him in jail right when he thought he was dying of AIDS.

“She shared that the only doctor that could heal me in the whole world is Doctor Jesus,” says Tuhoe, “and that’s how I came to the Lord.”

Now 56, Tuhoe has studied at a Bible school and traveled throughout Oceania as an evangelist.

Recently, a movie on his life called The Rap was produced with Tandem, Cru in New Zealand. The response was immediate: The first person to view the film accepted Christ.

Despite antagonism from former friends, Tuhoe began a program in 2000 to help bring ex- prisoners and gangs to his new family in Christ.

“They just are hurting too,” says Tuhoe, “and God wants to reach out to them.”

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