Northlanders tend to observe juxtapositions of beauty and ugliness.

We live in a coastal region, so we are never far from million-dollar views and the awe that beaches, the sea and coastlines invoke.

Beyond that magnificent surface, we have social issues that many of us choose to ignore because they aren't in our backyard.

Read more: Vaughan Gunson: Ngapuhi settlement process needs time and good will from all of us
Ngapuhi express views to new Treaty Negotiations Minister Andrew Little


Take Omapere - stunning vistas, a place where some serious money gets spent.
And where store owners run the risk of terrifying knife-point robberies by teenagers.

Ugly issues, hard to solve.

Kids growing up thinking they have the right to inflict terror on a hard-working business owner or worker.

Because that's what they have learned from mum, or dad, or the nearest thing they have to someone who is a parent.

Kids who think gangs are the future because it is the only way they will have flash cars, money and mana.

Because generations before them have gone the same way.

Why do you think politicians campaign on promises to build roads, rail networks and the like?

Because you can see the result, if they deliver.

Unlike roads or bridges, if you throw money at social issues, they need to be planned, monitored and the outcomes delivered.

Remember the early days of Family Start, anyone? It was going to change lives, break cycles.

Lots of money. Lots of spending. Poor accountability on the part of the Government.

And not much evidence of the benefit of the taxpayer investment.

Finger-wagging gets us nowhere though.

Ngapuhi representatives and the new Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations met this past week, and no doubt Andrew Little heard about past grievances and the need for these to be resolved.

Hopefully the future is also a huge part of the urgency as to why this region needs this treaty settlement and investment in social and employment issues.

Because how much more incentive do you need than the terror inflicted on a Four Square worker by a youth wanting cash and some cigarettes?