Kaikohe head girl: locally-led approach best

One of the most forthright, sensible and mature responses to the problems in Kaikohe come from Northland College head girl Aroha Lawrence who said ‘When you’re from Kaikohe people don’t expect much’ (RNZ):

…she knew some of the young people involved at the weekend.

Some came from good homes while others came from broken homes, but they were united in that they had all grown up in Kaikohe and had to deal with any stigma that came with that.

“When you’re from Kaikohe people don’t expect much of you, so you don’t have really big expectations for yourself,” Miss Lawrence said.

“People just think you’re another Māori statistic that’s just going to go on the dole.”

It did not help that there was not much to do in the town, she said.

“A lot of the kids here, they just go hang out at The Mill, which is our local gym. Or just do what those young boys were doing – going around vandalising properties and robbing shops and robbing homes. Because, I don’t know, I guess they think that’s fun because there’s nothing really else to do in Kaikohe.”

Something needed to change but a locally-led approach was best, she said.

However, the same things happened in other towns and cities too and it was important to remember there were a lot of good young people in Kaikohe too, Miss Lawrence said.

“There’s a lot of us that are trying to, you know, make something better for ourselves or make something better for Kaikohe. They shouldn’t judge us by a few rotten eggs.”

There has always been problems with bored young people in rural towns. Kaikohe is in central Northland and has a population of about four and a half thousand.

While Government and Police can and should help the best solutions must come from the locals. It’s their town that their children are trashing.

Alcohol abuse seems to be a big part of the problem. That’s nothing new, but solutions may need to take new approaches.

49 Comments

  1. Nelly Smickers

     /  March 21, 2017

    What we’re looking at here is a bunch of *12 year old already dysfunctional thugs* all from dysfunctional homes. Even at this age, they are hardened little criminals. Because of our bleeding- heart attitude of *catch and release* what can you expect? Wayne reckins the police don’t get the backing they need, no one else cares, so best just leave ’em to it…..that’s all the justice system does even if they do get picked up

    I’m sorry, but ask yourself…..would you ever see 12/13yo kids from *Kings Prep or Baradene* acting like this ❓ Then ask yourself *why* you wouldn’t….

    • Blazer

       /  March 21, 2017

      because they have money…to buy..anything..they want.

    • Patzcuaro

       /  March 21, 2017

      Kids from wealthy families are not immune to this sort of behavior, eg Nikolas Delegat. But they and their families are better able to work the system to their advantage for a better outcome.

      • Nelly Smickers

         /  March 21, 2017

        Agree with you on that Patz -.some of this country’s biggest white-collar crims were *Kings Old Boys*……but that wasn’t the question.

        • Anonymous Coward

           /  March 21, 2017

          He punched a female cop if you remember right, he didn’t embezzle an investment scheme. There was also the kids that broke and entered a bach.
          Mark Lyon came from a good home. And isn’t Basset St in Remuera?

          • Nelly Smickers

             /  March 21, 2017

            If you read my post AC, you’d see I was referring to *12/13yo ferals* in general…. not any specific individuals ❗

            Best you stick to alerting the group when you detect any obvious *photoshop* crimes 😄

            • Anonymous Coward

               /  March 21, 2017

              You asked if white rich kids committed crime, whilst making the assumption that they don’t. I’ll call out your stupid wherever I find it. THe numbers might not be as high but out of control kids are in all neighbourhoods, even the one you so often claim to be in for effect.

            • Nelly Smickers

               /  March 21, 2017

              OOOOH….a nasty little man

    • duperez

       /  March 21, 2017

      Since Kings and Baradene have been introduced I suppose schooling is introduced.

      The described “dysfunctional thugs all from dysfunctional homes, even at this age hardened little criminals” are the kids who turn up at schools. When they go. They are likely to be those who are transient, moving through numbers of schools. No doubt they include kids with special learning needs and are put in programmes getting help with their learning problems. When they go to school. When they are in a school long enough to have their needs and deficiencies identified.

      And so the “dysfunctional thugs from dysfunctional homes, hardened little criminals” do not reach the National Standards or achieve NCEA Level 2. And then teachers and schools are rubbished and the clamour for charter schools grows because of the failures.

      Naturally, on their trip through the schooling system the behaviours of the dysfunctional thugs from dysfunctional homes have certainly impacted on the lives of other pupils and certainly affected the staff resources available to “ordinary” kids.

      Which means that “ordinary” parents of ordinary kids take flight, take their kids elsewhere to school. Those best kids leaving leaves the school diminished in more ways than mere numbers.

      The dysfunctional ones end up in prison, but great, wonderful, fantastic, if they do literacy courses they get time off their sentences!

      • PDB

         /  March 21, 2017

        So after all those generalisations your answer to the problem is?

        • duperez

           /  March 21, 2017

          Join the Kaikohe or Bay of Islands branch (whatever) of the National Party and go all out for corporal punishment. That apparently is the answer.

          And since we’re talking that district, doubling the size of the prison at Ngawha which as well as incarcerating troublemakers will mean more employment, and tripling the number of Police in the district would do that too. The local National Party branch probably have those as priorities.

          More jobs you see. The good folk who send their kids to Kings and Baradene can even send their offspring to those jobs in sunny Northland to do their bit to sort out the world in ways they want. I’m sure they’d jump at the chance.

          The double whammy in that of course is that it will it also prove that the highway is not a holiday one, but a road to Northland’s economic well-being.

  2. Corky

     /  March 21, 2017

    ‘When you’re from Kaikohe people don’t expect much of you, so you don’t have really big expectations for yourself,” Miss Lawrence said.”

    Yep, the great Maori loser attitude.

    ”There has always been problems with bored young people in rural towns. Kaikohe is in central Northland and has a population of about four and a half thousand.”

    That’s true ,Pete, but never the problems as above, with the local cop to scared to intervene. Of course in the olden days a cop would have gathered a posse, find the kids, taken them to a quiet location and thrashed them. Problem solved. Now days,no cop would dare think of such action. The police would hang them out to dry. And social media would issue death threats.

  3. lurcher1948

     /  March 21, 2017

    These maori ferals are the product of john keys national govt as these things were born in keys reign and under the laws brought in by national. So voters and right wing snowflakes they are your fault and problem….

    • PDB

       /  March 21, 2017

      Not sure if this is irony or stupidity……….

      • Corky

         /  March 21, 2017

        Or regressive evolution…and just when Lurchy was doing so well,

      • Conspiratoor

         /  March 21, 2017

        Prolonged exposure to printing solvents over many years pants. Give the man a break

    • Pete Kane

       /  March 21, 2017

      Or even Labour/Act’s Roger Douglas 48.

    • Anonymous Coward

       /  March 21, 2017

      I think you’ll find that the root of the problem lies in the Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Act 1989 that introduced ‘family conferences’ and removed real punishment for those under 18.
      https://www.youthcourt.govt.nz/assets/Documents/Publications/Youth-Court-History-of-the-Youth-Court.pdf

      • NOEL

         /  March 21, 2017

        Right on. in 2016 of those who attended the Youth Court only 15 percent received some for of punishment. The rest were dealt with in “family conferences” which is a form of diversion.
        We can never know just how many rat bags have multiple diversions, and possibly pose a threat to the community because the Youth Court system is closed to the public.

        That’s where the real threat lies.Multiple family conferences only reinforces that there is no real consequence and that means it’s not a deterrent.

    • Gezza

       /  March 21, 2017

      Not true Lurchy. Problem started before John Key’s time. Keep it real. This is a Community problem. Time parents & the community up there started holding other parents to account for what their kids get up to. They’ve shamed the whole community in front of the nation.

    • Anonymous Coward

       /  March 21, 2017

      Definitions – Child and youth[edit]
      A child under the age of ten cannot be convicted of an offence.[6] If the child is aged 10 or 11, they can be prosecuted for murder or manslaughter. If the offender is aged 12 or 13, they can only be prosecuted for an offence if the maximum penalty is 14 years imprisonment or more, or if the maximum penalty is 10 years imprisonment or more if they are a repeat offender and the previous offence had a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment or more.[7] All children aged between 10 and 13 have a rebuttable presumption of incapacity to commit a crime.[8] Young persons aged 14 to 16 may be prosecuted for any crime, unless a higher age limit is stated in the specific legislation (e.g. people under 16 cannot be convicted of incest).

      If the child is brought within the court system, the judge has a discretion to not use the criminal process and direct them towards social welfare.[9]

      When the child offender does not fall into these categories, they are dealt with under the care and protection provisions of CYPTFA, or by the police, which are governed by youth justice principles.[10]

      If between 14 and 17, the court will have regard to the age of the offender.[11] If the crime is dealt with in the Youth Court, then the Youth Justice Act and youth principles will apply. However the offender can be sent to the District Court or High Courth for sentencing or trial, where the Sentencing Act 2002 applies. Under the Sentencing Act 2002, a child or young person under 17 cannot be sentenced to prison or home detention unless they commit a Category 4 offence (e.g. murder, manslaughter, crimes against the State) or an offence where the maximum penalty is 14 years imprisonment or more.

      This has been the law for so long that kids know what they can get away with, and at what age. These kids are all outside the law unless they kill someone and they know it.

      • Gezza

         /  March 21, 2017

        And the elephant in the room is there are just not enough police.

        • Anonymous Coward

           /  March 21, 2017

          You can’t deny there’s been a change in Kid’s attitude to crime since they closed the borstals and brought in the chat with your Mum.

        • PDB

           /  March 21, 2017

          “And the elephant in the room is there are just not enough police.”

          That isn’t the cause of the problems, ambulance at bottom of cliff stuff.

          • Gezza

             /  March 21, 2017

            Agreed. But there was no chance to a squad together, rip in there straight away, and arrest the adults defending the offenders for obstruction. Days later is too late. So – meantime, because it will take forever for police numbers to creep up, the Community needs to do some whakama. Name the kids at a meeting. These are the kids. They robbed a store and tried to rob a servo – one owned by the iwi. They’re robbing you.. Here’s the video. What are we going to do about it? Trespass them from shops? What else can we come up with?

        • Corky

           /  March 21, 2017

          Tautoko.

  4. duperez

     /  March 21, 2017

    When I was a kid Kaikohe seemed to be a thriving town. The railway was a busy, bustling place, there were outfits like the Ministry of Works and P&T, kids came from far and wide to attend Northland College. The freezing works were big in Moerewa.

    Most of the reasons being offered for the town and the people being like they are now are simplistic. Economic conditions changed dramatically, society changed dramatically since the 1950’s and ’60s. Maybe Kaikohe represents some of the worst or most problematic of that.

    When the forest of jobs were chopped down what replaced them? What was introduced to maintain economic activity, to keep employment, to give people a focus in life, and promote growth? What leadership, entrepreneurship and subsequent investment was there?

    What is the health of similar sized towns around the country which dealt with similar historic changes? Cromwell, Dannevirke, Hokitika, Stratford? How much have the different geographies impacted on the ways they have evolved?

    Someone said “the root of the problem lies in the Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Act 1989.” That is not the root cause of problems in Kaikohe.

    Most of the kids going ape in the video we’ve seen this week likely will not turn out to be violent thugs. They’ll be normal people wanting to live normal lives. They’ll grow up and have families who themselves will learn from their parents how to live in and interact with the world.

    If they are disillusioned, jobless, without prospects, without the material well-being they see the rest of the world having, how do we expect them to end up, how will we expect them to act?

    • Gezza

       /  March 21, 2017

      “When the forest of jobs were chopped down what replaced them? What was introduced to maintain economic activity, to keep employment, to give people a focus in life, and promote growth? What leadership, entrepreneurship and subsequent investment was there?”

      Well, it looks like not much. But whose job is it to provide leadership & entrepreurship in a local community?

  5. Northland could be a paradise to live in. The beauty of its coasts and bush areas, the Historic places for New Zealand’s colonial and pre-colonial past, etc etc. But it is still suffering from the same problems as existed when I was a kid growing up in Ngataki and Kaitaia. Those problems stem from one main thing and that is the lack of modern land lines of communication. Build a decent Highway from Warkworth to Cape Reinga to facilitate the movement of tourists both domestic and foreign and bring back the positive way of thinking about the Far North. The centralisation of local Government has meant the loss of identity as a place to such rural towns as Kaikohe, Kaitaia, Keri Keri, Paihia, Russell, Hukeranui, Pukenui, TeKao, Ahipara, The Mirata, Whatuwhiwhi, Herikino, The Hokianga, Waipouia and so forth have all been centralised under one administration. This means that the local leaders have not got the status or support to speak out locally about local problems and provide local solutions to those problems. More police especially trained to seek out and destroy local gangs and the drug and alcohol scene to recreate the positive way of life that used to be a norm. Build the big road, and the rest will happen.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  March 21, 2017

      So true, BJ. I made the Auckland visit over the past few days and the trip is just a nightmare of congestion and inadequate roads. I abandoned SH1 at Wellsford and took the ridiculously windy, hilly and utterly incompetent Hellensville route which still allowed me to get to Orewa in a mere 50 minutes compared with the several hours it took a relative to get from Leigh to Auckland over the same period.

      The moronic expenditure in Northland on welfare rather than building proper highways over the past five decades has created this disaster and judging by the glacial pace of road enhancements currently in progress will continue for another fifty years.

      In contrast after German reunification the Germans built a 500km major motorway from Munich to Berlin in a little over a year. Why on earth do we tolerate mind-blowing incompetence and lack of proper investment here?

      • Alan, as you will have seen on SH1, the “glacial pace of road enhancements” is because of the [greatly?] increased emergency repair work needed as the BIG H truck rigs tear the highway to shreds …

        Laughed and laughed driving Umawera to Okaihau today at the thought of this EVER becoming a four lane motorway … Yeah, Right!

        Four lanes maybe half the distance between Whangarei-to-Auckland “someday over the rainbow” … and that’s exactly where all the ‘economic growth’ benefits will travel between as well … Whangarei and Auckland …

        The more ‘sophisticated’ the Far North becomes, the more it will lose its appeal to many tourists. The more ‘expensive’ and ‘luxury’ the tourism becomes, the more the Far North will lose its unique wairua … its spirit … its ‘vibe’ …

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  March 21, 2017

          The glacial pace of road enhancements is simply because the incompetent bureaucrats and politicians in charge of them tolerate such obscene nonsense and use other people’s money to pay for it. Four lane to Whangarei should have been done decades ago. We should have been working on Whangarei to Kerikeri by now.

          Far North has more than enough options and attractions to cater for all levels of tourism and they can and do co-exist without conflict. Russell for example has backpacker accommodation as well as ultimate luxury Eagles Nest extravagance and everything in between. That is no problem, just a lot of happy people enjoying themselves.

          Take a look at these comments from all kinds of people from all over the world:
          http://www.terracottagardens.co.nz/comments.asp

          • Blazer

             /  March 21, 2017

            how is the govt going with the 1 lane bridge upgrades in Northland…Al?

          • Decades ago “we” were too busy deregulating our economy Alan, putting corporates, SOE’s, “private consultants” and policy analysts in charge of public activities instead of public servants … That’s how we got where we are today …

            Actually, another factor does contribute … “Census population of Kerikeri in 2013 was 6,507, living in 2,970 dwellings with an average household size of 2.40.”

            Kerikeri just ain’t big enough! … Plus it has a major hurdle to overcome now … the FNDC commissioned, “consultocracy and contractocracy” one-way system … which must have set the town’s traffic flows back 30 years!

            Your annual comments about what you perceive as riff-raff in Russell every Waitangi holiday indicates “all levels of tourism” does not co-exist without conflict …

            Russell “riff-raff” doesn’t get highlighted like Kaikohe riff-raff though, does it?
            Why is that? They’re out of towners, Right? We wouldn’t want to besmerch the name of our treasured Kororareka?

            Well, Kaikohe’s got a tourist industry too … and the much-vaunted cycle trail goes right through there now as well …

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  March 21, 2017

              I don’t recall any comments about riff-raff in Russell on Waitangi day, let alone annual comments.

              Yes, Kerikeri’s traffic management is most kindly described as amusing. However, population follows transport, not the reverse, as the railways showed a century or more ago. Had proper road infrastructure been built long ago less migration to Auckland from Northland and more in the reverse direction would have happened.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  March 22, 2017

              I see the Far North tourist statistics say 1.2M commercial guest nights in 2016 and $500M spend. I’m guessing that omits a sizeable chunk in the holiday house/airbnb sector as well. The population of Kerikeri is not very relevant to the tourist population just as Russell’s permanent population is very small relative to its tourist and summer population.

          • Gezza

             /  March 22, 2017

            Great feedback Al. Garn, show us this lift everybody’s raving about. 😀

    • Corky

       /  March 21, 2017

      Too true, we have everything. Paradise on earth. So how come we are only 8th on the happiness register? The only good thing is Sweden comes 10th. Next year Sweden will be 15th. No prizes for guessing why. Perhaps that’s our problem?

      http://www.traveller.com.au/norway-is-the-worlds-happiest-country-in-2017-according-to-the-world-happiness-report-gv2li5

  6. duperez

     /  March 21, 2017

    Very good question. Entrepreneurship and that ending in something meaningful may be the happy accident of an individual and circumstances colliding.

    Vision and leadership are other strange beasts. Is some of that to come from politicians? Is some of that to come from politicians looking for and harnessing the possibilities in and for a district?

    (A couple of years ago I heard a well-known Ngapuhi kaumatua bemoaning their lack of resources. That he did not see and value all their, our, young people as a prime resource immediately condemned them and him.)

    Winston Peters talking about the North being neglected meant something to people up here. No doubt that chord was instrumental in seeing him elected and just as important, seeing the long term presiding lot spurned. It was personal. Throughout the country the reactions seemed mostly to be about “Winston issues” and the political slap in the face.

    The weirdest irony is in the answer to the local problem put up by Alan Price the Kaikohe National Party man, more corporal punishment. You beat someone and beat them and beat them again and they behave badly. So you beat them to make them change their behaviour.

    If Mr Price rouses enough who think the same maybe they’ll act together and vote Peters out. That thinking, not the actual booting out of Winston, will prove we are a backwater.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  March 21, 2017

      The only lack of resources is mental, duperez. Northland has an abundance of everything else.

  7. Alan Wilkinson

     /  March 21, 2017

    Lack of consequences plus shocking role models plus lack of good opportunities => self-reinforcing and growing disaster.

    Could try the Israeli approach of bull-dozing their homes. Or find a more subtle carrot and stick approach – eg, jail and education.

  8. Gezza

     /  March 21, 2017

    Full marks, mum. And the other family member who turned another young offender in.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/90699957/mum-turns-two-sons-over-to-police-after-youth-rampage-in-kaikohe

  9. You know, my baby sister (she is recently widowed at 75 yrs) is feeding and looking after a wonderful young Maori man who has not been able to get support from his whanau. He is a hard worker and really does a great job of heavy lifting for my sister when needed. He has a room in my nephew’s beach home up the road and keeps an eye on my sister’s safety. I understand he is related to Winston Peters, but that is okay, Winston we know what whanau really means. Forgive me if I get a bit testy about some of the kaupapa bullshit, it is only paraded when the people want special treatment. Te biggest problem Maori have is their Maoriness.

  10. Why not Paihia and Kerikeri?

    In the Tues 21 March Northland Age story reporting last weekend’s “rampage” by youths in Kaikohe I was interested to learn, “just five police officers were on duty (at 1am Saturday) in three patrol cars across the Mid-North. Two officers in Paihia and two in Kerikeri, dealing with incidents related to St Patrick’s Day festivities, leaving a Sergeant in Kaikohe.”

    I’ve already been informed “the weekend’s trouble (in Kaikohe) started on Friday”, with youths stealing 10 boxes of beer. The Police knew their exact location but, with adults at the party “defending the youths” and “just two officers … there was little they could do.”

    By strong implication this same address (actually named as being in Shaw Street) is where Saturday morning’s youth rampage emanated from.

    I call that fairly predictable.

    By comparison, the “incidents related to St Patrick’s Day festivities” in Paihia and Kerikeri were entirely unworthy of being reported. I saw no other mention of them.

    Crimes had already been committed in Kaikohe. Police were too intimidated to act. Despite this prior knowledge, four-fifths of available Police personnel were sent to Paihia and Kerikeri.

    That’s really interesting. Why is that? Especially given that St Patrick’s Day is virtually an excuse for public drunkenness? Perhaps lives were in danger in the East Coast towns? But surely anything that serious would be reported? Or was only property in danger, same as in Kaikohe?

    The youths apparently caused “about $1000 of damage to the iwi-owned [Mobil] service station”. Is the owner usually all-but identified by name when property’s threatened? Why say “iwi-owned” at all?

    If the Paihia and Kerikeri incidents had been reported, would the street location be given? Would the property owner’s identity be heavily implied?

    I’m not saying any of these incidents are desirable. Far from it. I’m saying if they are equally undesirable why aren’t they equally reported?

    It begs the question: Where does our ‘News’ really come from?

    Also, why publicize a bad image of your own town? If you’re attempting to solve community problems by addressing local concerns, wouldn’t the whole, complicated situation be better dealt with locally, outside the glare of the media spotlight?

    If not, why not publicize the bad image of Paihia and Kerikeri on St Patrick’s Day?

    This begs the question: Who is focusing the bad ‘News’ on Kaikohe? (Or Kaitaia for that matter?) And why?

    Most of what passes for ‘News’ stories these days are nothing more than Press Releases, political agendas included. Often its worse, it’s social and racial profiling as well.

    Why?