Research on behalf of the Families Commission has found many youth gang members want to leave gangs but find it difficult to do so.
An Auckland University of Technology report, Pasifika Youth in South Auckland, examines the relationship between young Pacific Islanders in Manukau City street gangs and their families.
It suggests some may have to move out of south Auckland to get out of the gang culture.
Researcher Efeso Collins says many of the youth gang members interviewed see their involvement as transitional, and have aspirations for life outside the gang.
Martin Cooper, a former Black Power leader, says initial involvement in gang life is often an attempt to find security, and leaving the gang is challenging because of the pressures involved.