Four deaths among college lads raise questions – but the 13 deaths of Kawerau youths raise many more

So who is troubled by what's happening here?

A good question is raised at Roarprawn today under a post headed THE SNOBBERY OF DEATH

The Busted Blonde has been fired up by the overdose of media attention being paid to a “spate” of deaths among students at Kings College and the subsequent wringing of hands.

She goes on –

Our best and brightest are in trouble. But what about the public reaction to 13 deaths of teenage boys in Kawarau?

This is a far more disturbing trend. But they are brown and they are poor. And you would think judging by the public and media reaction to their deaths compared to the deaths of the Kings College students that they don’t matter at all.

It’s a fair call.

Radio NZ’s Morning Report has been full of the King’s College lad’s death.

The hapless headmaster was subjected to a load of badgering questions about how many kids had been barred from the school ball this year and whether the ball would be held next year and what was his attitude to parents serving booze to the kids – blah, blah.

But Alf has heard no Radio NZ follow-up to the spate of young people’s deaths in Kawerau. Nor did he find any other media follow up on the report posted on the Herald site yesterday under the heading Spate of deaths hits mill town

The Herald tells the story of a grief-stricken mother who is pleading for help after her son and nephew were among 13 youths from the small North Island town to die suddenly in just 18 months.

The spate of tragic deaths in the eastern Bay of Plenty has prompted the creation of a new taskforce to make it easier for parents to seek help to prevent suicide.

Michelle Elliott, of Kawerau, buried her 17-year-old son Jordan Gray in October and just last month she was hit by the death of her nephew Harry Peri-Elliott.

“Kawerau is a beautiful community,” she said. “We don’t know what’s happening with our babies.”

The Bay of Plenty District Health Board said most of the dead were Maori males aged from 16 to 21. “It’s a horror story,” said a spokeswoman.

The Herald says Kawerau has been hard-hit by the recession and has a large gang presence.

The health, justice, social development and education ministries have set up a joint taskforce to tackle youth suicide.

It is headed by Kevan McConnell, who said –

“There seems to be a lack of resilience among young men. They don’t have the emotional capability to work through the tough times.”

It seems the Government is not unduly troubled by what is happening.

A spokeswoman for Health Minister and local MP Tony Ryall said: “The community itself now has the power and the money to address the issues that they feel most important.”

The media’s indifference to the Herald story contrasts with the recent dog attack in the town.

Most of them followed up on the incident after a dog bit the face of a two-year-old girl.

The pitbull-cross was surrendered for destruction by its owner and was put down in the afternoon.

The normal clamour for the ownership of certain dogs to be banned immediately followed.

Alf joins BB in waiting for similar concerns to be expressed about whatever troubles the youth of Kawerau.

One Response to Four deaths among college lads raise questions – but the 13 deaths of Kawerau youths raise many more

  1. Cactus Kate says:

    Pretty sure the parents of the Kings kids would much rather more media attention was heaped on Kawerau.

    It’s a matter I think of media sensationalising Kings. Neither the school or the parents would be enjoying that.

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