CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand—If this country’s spectacular nature reserves are the peaceful Shire of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Hobbits in Middle Earth, its notorious ganglands are our Mordor.
“Police documents showed that there were over 7,000 gang members in New Zealand as of December 2019, up 50 percent in three years. ”
The Bay of Plenty’s official tourism website gushes about the region’s “breathtaking views, beachside relaxation and year-round sun.” And New Zealand often is seen as an oasis of heavenly peace in a troubled world, its gorgeous sweeping mountain vistas made famous by Peter Jackson‘s Lord of the Rings movies. But an influx of foreign criminals and drugs is fueling a rash of violence across the country as gangs battle for control of lucrative turf.