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Ed Said - Growing Pains


dadI have often trumpeted the value of volunteers in a small community, the selfless hours they donate to a number of projects, the monetary donations almost all the community contribute and the pride taken in the completion of some wonderful and worthwhile entertainment and facilities. That’s why it was disappointing to see, last week, that some thoughtless person with an aerosol spray can had defaced our worldclass skate bowl with their signature. It wasn’t a major but it was irksome.

Social media ran hot. ‘The culprit should be named and shamed’, ‘should be caught and painted’ plus a variety of words pertaining to their pedigree. Again volunteers waded in with scrubbing brushes and a water blaster and erased the offensive markings and many thanks to them. But what interested me was some of the comments.

While certainly not accepting of the practice, it was pointed out that we have our serious skaters, and even a number of professionals who respect the facility that has been made specifically for their use and enjoyment, skating has an element or ‘culture’. By it’s very nature it attracts young people with time on their hands, bored, ‘problem youth’ if you like who, while not necessarily criminals perse, have a tendency towards carelessness or disrespect of other people’s property. Tagging is a large part of that culture and few skate parks anywhere are devoid of tagging or bombing as it is sometimes called. Doesn’t make it ok, but it’s a fact!

graffiti-833On a daily basis and at any hour in Whangarei skaters can be seen throughout the city footpaths, streets and parks at ages ranging from probably 12 to 25 years. Simply, the younger ones should be in school and the older ones working if not supporting a partner and child but apart from numerous excuses our welfare system creates a disincentive towards much greater responsibility.

On a scenic train trip to Wellington last year, passing through the railyards of south Auckland littered with derelict trains and carriages I was amazed at some brilliant artwork created by these bombers. In some cases their artistic ability knows no bounds. Most people are familiar with Edvard Munch’s painting ‘The Scream’ which has been sold for over $100 million. To me the artwork on the train carriages was far superior. Different medium but the artist(s) certainly no less talented. It was even suggested that perhaps a wall of some kind could be erected at the MAZ so taggers could do their thing to their heart’s content, leaving the concrete work devoid of such graffiti. Is there a solution? I can’t say.

This was the first time. There will be a second, and a third, it’s inevitable and I think there is probably no cure as human nature in all it’s frailty, will rule for better or worse.

But, this is part of a growing community. As local population grows, so will more people volunteer and donate time and money towards worthy causes. Similarly, but hopefully to a lesser extent, there will inevitably be more vandalism, more petty theft, more car hoons. It goes, to some extent, with the territory. We, as a community, just have to stand together and minimise the effects and in so doing, goodness will dominate.

Just my thoughts.

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