Trust: A True Story of Women and Gangs

Author(s): Pip Desmond

NZ Biographies

2010 NZSA E.H. McCormick Best First Book Award for Non-Fiction. Imagine being a middle-class, university-educated young Pakeha woman from Wellington'�s leafy suburbs and turning your back on all that to live in a house with Black Power gang connections in the rundown inner-city. Imagine organising the young women who come to live in that house, most of whom are from a background of dysfunction, alienation, abuse and poverty, and trying to weld them into an effective workforce. Imagine being trapped in your bedroom while a would-be rapist is trying to break down the door. Imagine fronting up to the national president of Black Power demanding that the gang rape of women or blocking comes to an end. Imagine fleeing the house in panic one day, knowing that a group of Nomads gang members is on its way to rip it to pieces. Pip Desmond can not only imagine it, she also did all this. Trust is a remarkable memoir, the story of the years she spent with the Aroha Trust in the late 1970s, the back stories of the women she came to stand alongside and count as friends, and the stories of the lives of a key group of those women up to the present day. Back in the late 1970s their futures looked at the very least uncertain, at the very worst bleak. Thirty years on, the path for some has been redemptive and they have moved on to better things. Others have been trapped by their pasts. Told with passion, anger, tenderness, humour and force, this remarkable book reflects on a period of social experimentation and lifts the lid on the lives of women who love gang members, and the price they pay.


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Pip Desmond is a freelance writer and journalist who has spent most of her working life in the community sector, both paid and unpaid. In 2000, she became Labour Minister Ruth Dyson's press secretary before doing the MA in Creative Writing at Victoria University in 2006, where she wrote the first draft of 'Trust: A True Story of Women and Gangs'. The book recounts her experiences in her early 20s as a member of Aroha Trust, a work cooperative for gang women in Wellington, where she learnt to paint and renovate houses, cut scrub, and lay cats eyes on the city streets. Pip has also worked as a bus driver, barmaid, caterer and cleaner. She is married with three children and two beautiful grand-children. This is her first book.

General Fields

  • : 9781869792435
  • : Random House New Zealand Ltd
  • : Random House New Zealand Ltd
  • : January 2018
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Pip Desmond
  • : Paperback
  • : 302.34
  • : 300
  • : Biography & autobiography; Organized crime