Story: Gangs

Milk-bar cowboys, 1950s

Milk-bar cowboys, 1950s

New Zealand youths quickly emulated American popular culture, modelling themselves on figures such as James Dean and Elvis Presley. Milk-bar cowboys – also known as bodgies – congregated outside milk bars on motorbikes. The 1950s saw the emergence of New Zealand's first modern gangs, many centred on motorcycle ownership.

Using this item

New Zealand Herald
Reference: 130308NZHMILKBAR.JPG

Permission of the New Zealand Herald must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Greg Newbold and Rāwiri Taonui, 'Gangs - Motorcycle and white supremacist gangs', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 17 April 2024)

Story by Greg Newbold and Rāwiri Taonui, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 2 Oct 2018, updated 1 Apr 2020 with assistance from Jarrod Gilbert