McGehan Close

November 14th, 2012 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

James Ihaka at NZ Herald reported:

Five years on, the Herald revisits the street made famous by John Key and finds McGehan Close residents positive and proud. They’re free of the gangs that plagued them and happy to let their children play outside.

Five years after they were thrust unwillingly into the political spotlight, things have changed for the residents of McGehan Close – much of it for the better.

Excellent.

Gone are the wannabe gangsters who terrorised them, along with the broken glass, the graffiti on fences and homes and rubbish that littered a nearby stream.

Instead there are children playing outside, neighbours speaking with each other over their fences and people wasting little time reporting any suspected crime.

So how has this change happened?

It is a street where everyone knows everyone – and where people say they’re proud to come from.

Among them is Halahetoa Haukau, who was 12 when the media showed up in droves after the Prime Minister’s infamous 2007 speech at the Burnside Rugby Club, in Christchurch.

Now 17, the retail student said many of the street’s problems went away when local gang Dope Money Sex stopped using their local park as their watering hole.

“A lot of them are either in prison, shanked [stabbed] or have kids of their own and have grown up and moved on.

“It was pretty scary back then. No-one would come out of their homes because they were too afraid, you would never see any children at the park, ever.

“But they’ve gone … it’s probably because of that,” she said, pointing to a liquor ban sign above the park.

Gangs destroy a local community.

Ms Santos said the publicity had galvanised the street’s residents and while many of the people the Herald had spoken to in 2007 had now left, she said McGehan Close showed how a neighbourhood can take ownership of its problems.

“It’s a really good place and yeah, people are proud to live here. They used to be too scared, now they will call the police if they see anything going on.

“The people who live here have hopes and dreams too, they want better for their children.”

She conceded the Government had done some good with homes being recarpeted or fitted with new kitchens, bathrooms and curtains – part of a $125 million investment into state housing upgrades.

She said Housing New Zealand and the Auckland City Council were proactive in dealing with complaints, particularly with graffiti, which is cleaned up almost as soon as it appears.

Police also respond quickly to their calls while a footbridge built in the last couple of years runs over a nearby stream that is surprisingly free of any rubbish.

“But really with a lot of the changes I think it’s the community that has done most of this,” Ms Santos insists.

I agree. I think Government, both central and local, can help out – but it is the community itself that has the most power.

Every second Thursday Alpesh Macwan holds a barbecue at number 13 McGehan Close.

He regularly gets about 15 kids and a few parents showing up for a sausage or to play with his rabbits while a couple of local youth workers also pop by to lend support and listen to the children.

What a great idea. Little initiatives like that can make a difference.

No tag for this post.

17 Responses to “McGehan Close”

  1. backster (2,000 comments) says:

    “The Prime Minister’s infamous 2007 speech at the Burnside Rugby Club, in Christchurch.”

    Imust have missed this, why was his speech infamous.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. Shunda barunda (2,964 comments) says:

    Since National came into office, I have noticed a very distinct shift in our (lower socio-economic) neighborhood. Certain individuals have been pushed into work and are much happier for it, as are all the other residents that no longer have to put up with the results of their boredom.

    I am absolutely convinced that welfare without responsibility is the worst thing you can do to a human being under the guise of ‘help’. The fastest way to destroy an individual is to make them responsible for nothing.

    Whilst talking about cleaning up neighborhoods to a fairly left wing person, the response came back: “well they have to live somewhere” which to me really summed up the deficiency of how your average left winger understands these issues. It was explained to her that it isn’t about displacing people it is about displacing poor behavior which is an entirely different thing.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. cha (3,533 comments) says:

    Since National came into office, I have noticed a very distinct shift in our (lower socio-economic) neighborhood city. Certain individuals have been pushed into out of work and are much happier sadder for it, as are all the other residents that no longer have to put up with the results of their boredom.

    FIFY

    http://www.wanganuichronicle.co.nz/news/another-600-out-of-work-in-region/1617393/

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. David Garrett (5,120 comments) says:

    Note the major change here – the absence of the Gang. I am ashamed and embarrassed that the Law Society – to which I belong – recently made a submission against Todd McClay’s Bill which would ban gang patches in government buildings. The reason? The measure would impinge on rights of self expression.

    God save us from [self censored to avoid possible consequences arising from offending people with power over my ability to earn a living]

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. Chi Hsu (78 comments) says:

    Pathetic selective quoting to change the context of the article. Ironic that this part is not emphasised:

    “But they’ve gone… It’s probably because of that,” she said, pointing to a liquor ban sign above the park.

    The blog author also conveniently omits:

    Eddie Tafili, 66, had an ongoing battle with the gang, which saw him constantly cleaning up broken bottles or graffiti occasionally tagged on his fence and home.

    But he said it was unfortunate that McGehan Close had been used by politicians for their own means.

    He said the street had people who were trying to get by “like in any other place around New Zealand”.

    “Most people around the place are finding things tough right now, not just here,” said the former furniture maker.

    But another man, who adds his opinion without giving his name, said little has changed for him under the National Government.

    He believes things have gotten worse for many on the street, who are predominantly in low-paid jobs or on welfare.

    “Especially after they put GST up to 15 per cent and where the hell are all the jobs [Key] promised?

    “And the tax cuts? You ask anyone on this street if they’re any better off because of them and they will say ‘what the hell are you talking about?”‘

    Finally, on a related note:

    Key’s poster girl finds life much better in Australia

    She was the poster girl for McGehan Close who accompanied John Key to Waitangi celebrations and seemed set for better things.

    But Aroha Ireland has given up on New Zealand, is engaged to be married and earning good money with no plans to return to her homeland.

    The 17-year-old bailed for the lucky country last year, disillusioned with her prospects in Auckland.

    Miss Ireland, who is engaged to Stuart Spashett also of Auckland, did not return the Herald’s calls.

    She has told family members and friends she is embarrassed by the publicity that followed her since her visit to Waitangi in 2008.

    Lisa Spashett, who calls herself Aroha’s second mum, said the Government had failed people like her future daughter-in-law.

    She said there was nothing for them in New Zealand to look forward to or return to.

    “As far as they are concerned, no, they [the National Government] hadn’t done anything for them.

    “I can tell you that straight up and that’s why they are in Australia.”

    Ms Spashett said Aroha was working in Melbourne and she and Stuart were doing “really, really well over there”.

    Miss Ireland visited her estranged father, Jason Ireland, in Melbourne in 2010. She was so impressed she decided to move with her boyfriend.

    She said her father had moved to Australia and “hasn’t looked back”.

    Miss Ireland was a 2003 student on the I Have a Dream programme at Wesley Primary School.

    The million-dollar programme provided academic help and life skills mentoring and offers a scholarship for tertiary study in New Zealand but a Herald report earlier this year showed more than a quarter of those who attended it have left for Australia.

    In 2008, Prime Minister John Key famously took the then 12-year-old Miss Ireland to attend Waitangi commemorations with him.

    She was teased at school after her Waitangi visit and was kicked out of Mt Albert Grammar School for misbehaviour.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. scrubone (2,971 comments) says:

    Chi Hsu, there are positives and negatives. Unsuprisingly, someone who sees negatives isn’t a goverment supporter – hardly suprising to find strong Labour supporters in poor areas.

    I agree with DPF – it’s the community that makes the difference. Government can help, but it can also be a big part of the problem when people percieve every problem as the goverment’s duty to fix, instead of seeing their community as something they need to contribute to if they want it improved.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. Chi Hsu (78 comments) says:

    I understand that there will be those on both sides of the political spectrum. What I dislike is the blog author’s spin on the story – acting like a Chinese government agency editing a news release. The fact that very little content is added other than the cut and paste job furthers validates the idea that the sole purpose of the post was for National Party propaganda purposes, rather than a genuine desire to let readers know how residents of McGehan Close are getting on these days.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. David Garrett (5,120 comments) says:

    Chi Hsu: “…the blog author’s spin”…Yea Gods man! Have you ever visited a website called “The Standard”? At least you can criticise our gracious host all you like – pretty much – and he doesn’t give a rats. Try doing that over in that cesspit! Over there you are not even allowed to know who the authors of the bile are!!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. RRM (8,988 comments) says:

    I love how “communities” have now become “local communities”.

    “Local communities” are right up there with “two-year anniversaries” on the list of dumb-arse neologisms that RRM hates with a passion. :evil:

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. David Garrett (5,120 comments) says:

    RRM: for a confirmed leftie you have some pretty good ideas old son…I look forward to making your acquaintance at the 1,000,000th comment party that our host is putting on….I believe the Great Hall at parliament is a possible venue….

    and on the subject of annoying English, how about “around” (as in “issues around”) for “arising from” “regarding” or even “surrounding” ? Not a neologism, but you get my drift…

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. Ryan Sproull (6,661 comments) says:

    It’s when people say “two-month anniversary” that I lose my shit, RRM.

    ANNI MEANS YEAR, DICK.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. Griff (6,263 comments) says:

    Chi Hsu
    You find it unusual that a right wing blogger and his audience mostly agree with the spin ?

    Lefty spin
    “As far as they are concerned, no, they [the National Government] hadn’t done anything for them.”

    Yet the mokopuna do better in aus

    With no entitlement to welfare

    The major differences for the emigrants is the part of Maori culture in their lives

    They leave behind the influence of gangs violence and separatism

    And exist in a culture that is similar to a New Zealanders.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. nasska (9,501 comments) says:

    Griff

    The other part that stays behind is the “curse of the whanau”. This sees anyone with Maori blood who grafts & makes something for themselves & their immediate families become the target of the bludging, no hoping distant relations who will sponge off the poor bastard.

    Of course it is the Maori way & in this day & age must be superior to that of the lowly Pakeha. Personally I view it as similar to the behaviour of a bucket of crabs where the one who tries to climb up & escape his doom is hauled back into the bucket by his ‘mates’.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. Griff (6,263 comments) says:

    Personally I know many Maori who say the same thing including some good friends who have made the jump across the ditch. :sad:

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. David Garrett (5,120 comments) says:

    Nasska: A bucket of crabs…I like it.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. mara (639 comments) says:

    Nobody could ever accuse me of being a left-leaner but I still object to banning gang patches. I liken this to free speech which we also squirm over when things get a bit “difficult.” If there were any REAL will to eliminate bad gang behaviour, as in a police WAR on gang criminality with the legal system ” playing ball”, the public would have no reason to be intimidated by the patch as the wearers of them would be toothless. I am not holding my breath waiting for this particular penny to drop.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. Griff (6,263 comments) says:

    Having a patch on the scum suckers just makes them easier targets to harass. They are criminal enterprises after all.
    The laws around eavesdropping and interception need a though review. Having prosecutions thrown out on technicalities must be hard on the cops.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.