Choose your path
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.