Notorious American-based white supremacist group the Ku Klux Klan is active in New Zealand and singling out young people to spread its doctrine of racial superiority, a former Klan leader from the United States says. Former Klan imperial wizard Johnny Lee Clary said yesterday that he knew of active Klan groups in Auckland and Christchurch and he had received e-mails and approaches from people claiming to be misunderstood members of such groups since he arrived in New Zealand last year.
In one incident, a potential new recruit was instructed that as part of their initiation "they would have to kill a non-white person", Mr Clary said. He told the young woman to contact police. "I know what these people think and I know what they're all about," he said. "They're very serious about getting their agenda pushed forward and it's sickening that they want to come into New Zealand and take advantage of people. But they're going after the youth because the youth of today will decide the kind of nation you have tomorrow. They go get these kids that feel down and out, who have been involved in gangs and that activity and take advantage of them. "But it's not just all-white race groups either. I've run into black groups that have been prejudiced against white kids. I've seen Samoan people, Tongan people, Fijians and people like this all at each other's throats -- different cultures bad-mouthing one another. "I've seen racism from all sides in New Zealand."
Race relations conciliator Rajen Prasad said his office was aware of such groups and the Human Rights Act contained very clear provision for police or court action if evidence of inciting racial disharmony was discovered. Mr Clary was in Wellington and Porirua yesterday where he spoke during services at Elim churches on the importance of family values in eliminating racial hatred and promoting reconciliation. He said he had turned his back on the Klan to preach a doctrine of peace, love and understanding.
He said he had refused to meet one senior New Zealand Klansman and now spent time trying to combat the spread of racial propaganda seeping into New Zealand schools and on to the streets. The best way to combat such attitudes was for the family unit to fight back, he said. "I see the breakdown of the family in New Zealand and the family unit under attack and I feel that more and more people are being driven apart."