Kids In New Zealand, The Village Lets Them Down

Can you believe it? parents and caregivers in Whangarei are said to be organising fights between their kids to sort out petty playground squabbles. We know that Michael Laws called the kids in the far north ‘feral‘ but this really is hard to believe.

The Northern Advocate reported

Police are investigating claims parents have organised after-school fights between Northland teenagers to settle playground disputes.

The latest claim comes after a spike in the number of brawls at secondary schools in Whangarei.

That has been partly driven by a trend to capture the “best fight” on cellphone video and post it on the internet.

In the last month police have been notified of two fights organised by parents and caregivers of girls aged 13 and 14 in the Whangarei area as a way of sorting out differences.

The rise in fights has alarmed an experienced Whangarei police officer, who says technology is partly to blame, combined with a drop in the respect young people have for themselves and others.

Whangarei Police Campus Cop Senior Constable Hank van Engelen said schools had been telling police about the increase in violence but the latest trend was worrying.

You bet it is! how many people emigrate to New Zealand, Northland, or Whangarei, every year looking for safer, better places to raise their kids?

Do they realise they may have to organise after-school cat fights in among the usual round of play dates and after-school sporting activities. What ever happened to having a quiet yet constructive word with the school and working with them to help the kids sort out their differences, like civilised human beings?

“Kids are seeing who can get the best fight video and then put it up on the internet. A couple of parents have organised fights for their kids.”

He was unsure why parents were organising the fights, but suggested they wanted a safe environment for their children to fight in.

“I know it seems a bit sick. I’ve heard of it happening a couple of times, but don’t have enough evidence to prosecute the parents.”

He understood in one case a female student had come home from school saying she wanted to fight another student. The parents had contacted each other and arranged the backyard scrap.

Mr van Engelen said the brawls were fist fights and injuries included black eyes and cut lips.

He said the schools were doing everything they could by standing down those involved in fights or putting them before the school board.

“It’s not the schools’ responsibility to solve a social problem that is obviously happening. It seems fighting at school and after is socially acceptable.”

Doesn’t it make you wonder what is socially unacceptable these days? Where is society’s collective responsibility for the welfare and raising of these kids?

Ross Brown, principal of Napier Boy’s High School said something a few days ago that holds true for many schools and their communities in New Zealand:

“schools are the litmus test for the community and unfortunately, we inherit its problems including incidents such as these, “It takes a village to raise a child and unfortunately in this case the village has let them down.”

Instead some communities are ‘putting their kids in a ring’, letting them slug it out and  then posting the event on YouTube. How more dysfunctional can a community get?

Poet Peter Larsen was recently lambasted and assaulted for his poem about Whangarei’s social problems, he said the town had a culture of unprovoked violence and that its teenagers were pregnant with the next generation of criminals

…Whangarei your teenagers are pregnant with the next generation of criminals.
Whangarei if dont sort it out you will be overrun by bogans.
Whangarei anyone with a finger of talent and half a brain gets the fuck away.
Whangarei everyone is high on pot because theyre so damned bored.
Whangarei violence is a cheap thrill…

He is a prophet in his own land

3 thoughts on “Kids In New Zealand, The Village Lets Them Down

    • But how can this be, New Zealand is the most socially progressive and opportune country in the world? It must be true because a survey tells me so.

      The country tops the world on indicators of personal rights and freedoms, and comes in the top four for water and sanitation, access to schooling and tertiary education, and tolerance and inclusion of minority groups.

      We’d like to know how NZ went from ‘no information’ to top of the list between Jan 2014 and now?

  1. Ross Brown is a very decent person. I did part of my teacher training at his school. My experiences teaching in New Zealand were a nightmare.

    If you’re interested in the whole story, you can order my book here if you’re in New Zealand:

    or here in the wider world, where the title is different because people don’t know what NCEA means ( and search for “Swimming in the Cesspool”):;jsessionid=6DD4638AB3E7A44192B4BD46655EF6D8

    The only difference between the versions is the cover title and a few minor page layout changes (and I think the Lulu book is on cheaper paper!). The television show ( was really just the tip of the iceberg. The book concentrates on how I tried to deal with the situation and how I was let down by educational and governmental institutions in New Zealand.

    Kia kaha.

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