It was heartening to see such a positive and constructive response from the community at the hui on Thursday night to discuss the recent spate of crime and gang activity.
Gangs emerge in our communities for a reason: they provide a sense of belonging and often meet a financial need, albeit often through illegal means.
The only way to counter gangs is to provide an alternative way of giving young people a sense of belonging and meaning.
There are already many excellent social service providers and iwi providing young people with positive alternatives to gangs or reconnecting young people to their community and providing meaningful opportunities to contribute to our communities such as the Grahame Dingle Foundation, the Boxing Academy, Te Tuinga Whanau, Live for More and many more.
If you want to make a positive difference, please support these and other such organisations by volunteering your time or donating money.
Congratulations to mayors Tenby Powell and Garry Webber, police area commander Clifford Paxton and Simon Everitt of the Bay of Plenty District Health Board for an excellent meeting.
general manager, SociaLink
We can do better
I read John Langley's thoughtful and intelligent commentary ( Opinion, February 20 ) with regard to Oranga Tamariki and its efforts to improve New Zealand's shameful statistics of child abuse with great interest.
It is a topic discussed and debated in our household almost daily as the news tells of yet another child neglected, tortured or killed.
When you consider all the agencies and charities that exist to support children one has to ask why the negative statistics keep growing.
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Certainly what we are doing now and what we have been doing in the past has not been a great success and Dr Langley's suggestions make good sense to me as a positive starting point for change.
Families or individuals who need help should have a safe, non-judgmental place within their community to reach out for assistance in the first instance without fear of retribution.
I am sure there would be no shortage of volunteers to work with children and families in need in a practical way.
We must stop blaming Oranga Tamariki or any one ethnicity for the growing number of neglected children in our communities and look at what we as individuals and as a country can do better.
If we can't look after our children with loving care now how can we expect them to look after their children in the future?
I am sympathetic towards people who, for some reason or another, sleep on the streets ( News, February 21 ) but I am somewhat disappointed the new council seems to have revisited this topic ahead of all the other issues this city faces.
I also believe there is often a distinct difference between the people who sleep on the streets and those who beg and while some may do both, this is not necessarily the case.
Like many others, I have experienced what can only be called overly aggressive behaviour by people begging for money and it is not pleasant and not necessary on our city streets.
Hopefully, the proposed decision to revoke the bylaw will not come back to bite councillors in the butt. (Abridged)
Writings about the gang problems continue to overlook an important fact that for generations – our society as a whole (politicians, businesses, professionals, communicators, and parents) have been producing the conditions that enable gangs to prosper.
The resulting inadequacy of different plans to date for ending gang activity, and changing values and attitudes we exhibit in all aspects of our lives, leaves us facing two different problems: understanding why we're continually generating prospective gang recruits, and addressing this, and, dealing with existing gang behaviour.
It's due to ignoring that from conception we inherit potentials and instincts, both fostered by experiences.
Our potentials as a human, social species supply values and attitudes of caring, sharing, belonging, supporting, being accountable, are eroded when neglected, by instincts valuing self, survival, greed, selfishness, power, control, take over while still retaining the need to belong.
The resulting deprivation of these potentials are being displayed continually in all our actions: lack of personal accountability; no understanding or commitment of the role of parenting; believing blaming of others and resorting to laws, more police, prisons, etc, will provide the solutions without the commitment to personal change.
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