Money defines Auckland teens

By Nicola Boyes

Auckland teenagers are divided into two groups: the Have Nots from South Auckland, who dream of escaping poverty, and the Haves, who live in the city and want to escape a life of boredom.

Give a city kid $50 and it will be spent on fake Gucci, Louis Vuitton or jewellery, but a South Auckland teenager would reportedly spend the cash on food or give it to his or her mother.

The revelations come from a study by McCann Pulse, the research arm of ad agency Universal McCann.

After surveying 15- to 18-year-olds from decile 1 schools in South Auckland and the same age-group from decile 10 schools in the city, researchers found a snap-shot of the divide between rich and poor.

Girls from the "identity builders" age group think Daniel Carter is hot, cannot live without their cellphones, and their friends are their world.

The boys want customised cars, think push-to-talk cellphones are cool and cannot imagine living in Auckland all their lives.

They may like similar things, but the division between South Auckland and city teenagers is stark.

In South Auckland, teenagers lived a day-to-day existence and many modelled their lives on the gangs of South Central Los Angeles.

"Teachers make the disturbing observation that kids move in racially separate groups. In fact, some kids claim to be victims of 'reverse racism', whereby they feel victimised by Maori or Pacific Islanders and are unable to get the same protection from authorities," the study says.

South Auckland teens dream of getting rich.

"These kids on the whole are street-smart and know how to look for and avoid trouble."

City teens are "ambitious for financial wealth and know that university is the way to achieve this".

While they might not be as street-smart as South Auckland teenagers, the city kids are still smoking marijuana, taking party pills, inhaling nitrous oxide and buying alcohol for themselves or having their parents buy it for them.

The teens have in common the likelihood that they no longer live with both parents. Both at times also wish their fathers played a bigger role in their lives.

"I just wish my dad would ask me how my day was," said one teen from South Auckland.

A contemporary from the city said: "My dad will take his new family skiing - he won't even ask me and my sister".

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