A New Zealand-based far-right bodybuilding club that styles itself as a “monastic order” says one of its members was taken into military custody last week.
The police and NZ Defence Force (NZDF) confirmed to Newsroom that an individual is in military custody after “a joint criminal investigation”, and Newsroom understands the authorities are aware of the person’s far-right ties.
However, both the police and NZDF declined to answer further questions about the case.
On December 14, the group known as Wargus Christi posted in its Telegram channel that “one of our boys has been arrested for reasons still unknown. They have him in custody at the moment”.
A user believed to be Wargus Christi’s leader, Daniel Waring, later added that the man was in “military prison”.
When asked for comment, an NZDF spokesperson said: “We can confirm New Zealand Police executed a search warrant and one soldier was taken into military custody.
“As investigations are ongoing, no further details will be released at this time.”
The spokesperson also said the arrest occurred at Linton Military Camp.
A police spokesperson said: “New Zealand Defence Force and New Zealand Police have been conducting a joint criminal investigation.”
“New Zealand Defence Force is currently the lead agency, as this is an ongoing investigation no further comment will be made.”
Far-right group engages in anti-Semitism, other bigotry
Wargus Christi was started by neo-Nazi Daniel Waring in September. In 2010, Waring was convicted of vandalising a church in Feilding and told police that he was a member of Blood and Honour, a neo-Nazi skinhead group that is banned in Spain, Germany and Russia and considered a terrorist organisation by Canada. Waring later denied that he was a member of the group.
Wargus Christi claims it is a “martial-monastic Christian brotherhood” and mixes Crusades-inspired Christian extremist imagery with modern far-right memes.
The group’s Facebook page regularly engages in homophobia, anti-Semitism, sexism and Islamophobia, such as an October 15 post in which it declared, “like Islam, Judaism is a diametrical enemy of Christ”.
A post shared on the group’s public-facing Telegram channel states that Jews “killed the son of God and [are] the child of Satan”. In a private Telegram chat, a member wrote, “Satan simply works through the jews (and women+gays)”.
Waring and Wargus Christi did not respond to requests for comment.