Man with supersize face tattoo starts funding page to pay for his studies

2019-06-21 14:47
Puk Kireka is a Mongrel Mob gang member in New Zealand who’s been jailed twice.

Puk Kireka is a Mongrel Mob gang member in New Zealand who’s been jailed twice. (Photo:

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He dreams of becoming a personal trainer, but there's one thing standing in his way.

A large, unflattering tattoo covers more than half of his face.

Puk Kireka, a Mongrel Mob gang member in New Zealand who's been jailed twice, is said to have turned his life around and is looking for job to finance his education.

But employers have been wary of hiring him because of his appearance and criminal past with the organised street gang, writes The Mirror.

Now the 31-year-old has turned to the public for help.

According to, Puk's girlfriend, Waiora Tareha, has set up a crowdfunding page on to raise funds for his degree studies in sport and exercise science.

The father-of-three, who plays rugby as a winger for Tamatea in the city of Napier, credits his turnaround to the team's head coach, Levi Armstrong.

"I first went to court when I was 16 and I haven't been back since 2016. Meeting Levi in 2017 helped turn my life around," Puk told a local publication.

"I've proved to be an inspiration for other mobsters throughout the country," he explained. "Since they have read about my lifestyle change on Facebook many have been in touch asking about my fitness programmes so they can follow them."

Puk pursued a 13-month regime with Levi that saw him losing 3 kg, writes.

He concedes his conspicuous tattoo will make finding employment difficult, but says he's not going to give up his quest to lead a better life.

"I know it will be hard to get a job with my tatts," he says of the red-and-black ink.

"I'll always be a mobster but it's important to show we can have better lifestyles. I want to bring some of the others on board this better lifestyle.

"A lot of them are still drinking and smoking. While they aren’t getting into much trouble, they are still ruining their lives with their lifestyle."

In four days $769 (about R7 300) was contributed by 37 people.

SOURCES: The Mirror,,

Read more on:    new zealand

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