Choose your path

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

As he once sang, Scribe has been down and out – but the rap star has worked through his strug­gles and is now help­ing gam­blers break their ad­dic­tions.

The rap­per, real name Malo Lua­futu, shared his life story at the launch of a new na­tional anti-gam­bling cam­paign in Wai­tan­girua last week.

About 150 peo­ple at­tended the launch of the Min­istry of Health-funded cam­paign, called Choice Not Chance, which en­cour­ages fam­i­lies to openly dis­cuss prob­lem gam­bling and get help. Speak­ers in­cluded as­so­ciate health min­is­ter Peter Dunne and Porirua deputy mayor Liz Kelly.

Re­cov­ered gam­bler Scribe said the cam­paign’s mes­sage res­onates strongly with him.

‘‘It’s your choice, not chance, that de­ter­mines des­tiny and I’m a liv­ing tes­ta­ment to that.’’

He de­scribed his rough start to life – he was born while his Poly­ne­sian Pan­ther fa­ther was in jail for drug of­fences, and his mother was later com­mit­ted to a men­tal in­sti­tu­tion.

A 10-year-old Scribe started gam­bling un­der the in­flu­ence of his grand­mother, and by his teens was an al­co­holic, a drug ad­dict and was steal­ing to sup­port his gam­bling ad­dic­tion.

It was only when his mother threat­ened to dis­own him that he straight­ened out.

Three months af­ter go­ing clean, Scribe met mu­sic pro­ducer P-Money and was soon a chart­top­ping hip-hop mu­si­cian, clean­ing up at 2004’s Tui mu­sic awards.

‘‘At 23 years old I made New Zealand his­tory,’’ he said.

How­ever, the hip-hop star soon fell into the trap of play­ing pok­ies again.

‘‘A lot of peo­ple think money solves prob­lems, but in my ex­pe­ri­ence money mag­ni­fies your demons.’’

He de­scribes his mid-twen­ties as reck­less and de­struc­tive, and at his low point he pawned his gold records, which gen­er­ated na­tional me­dia at­ten­tion.

The loss of his plaques was noth­ing com­pared to how gam­bling iso­lated Scribe from his fam­ily, he said.

‘‘Los­ing my fam­ily through my gam­bling re­ally was the wake-up call.’’

Kids who start play­ing pok­ies do not re­alise how ad­dic­tive they can be­come, he said.

‘‘This ad­dic­tion doesn’t dis­crim­i­nate. Any­one can fall.’’

Poly­ne­sian and Maori com­mu­ni­ties are of­ten strug­gling al­ready, and do not need the ex­tra bur­den of a gam­bling prob­lem. ‘‘We’ve got it hard any­way.’’ But Scribe be­lieves ad­dicts can turn their life around. ‘‘As neg­a­tive, as eff’d-up as your life may be, you can still do some awe­some stuff. It’s re­ally up to you, you’re the only one that holds your­self back.’’

Choice not chance: Rap­per Scribe says no mat­ter how trou­bled their lives are, gam­blers can shape their own des­tiny.

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