Re­mov­ing ‘Lin-hood’ stereo­type from ‘for­got­ten’ com­mu­nity

The Press - - Front Page - JONATHAN GUILD­FORD

Res­i­dents of the ‘‘for­got­ten’’ Christchurch suburb of Lin­wood say they live in daily fear of crime, drugs and gangs.

While they love the sense of com­mu­nity and prox­im­ity to the beach and CBD, they feel the rest of the city views them as ‘‘scum­bags’’ from ‘‘Lin-hood’’.

Their views were cap­tured in the Sal­va­tion Army re­port The State of our Com­mu­ni­ties, pre­sented to Par­lia­ment yes­ter­day.

The re­port out­lined the key is­sues fac­ing New Zealand’s most vul­ner­a­ble com­mu­ni­ties, based on more than 300 in­ter­views with res­i­dents in Lin­wood, Welling­ton’s Porirua, and Auck­land’s Pa­pakura.

Al­most half of the re­spon­dents in Lin­wood iden­ti­fied crime and safety as their pri­mary con­cern. En­coun­ters with peo­ple strug­gling with al­co­hol and drug ad­dic­tions, along­side in­tim­i­da­tion by gangs and beg­gars were a com­mon con­cern. One re­spon­dent said gangs were present in his lo­cal school.

Poverty was a grow­ing worry as res­i­dents could see the num­ber of home­less peo­ple and beg­gars in­creas­ing. A mid­dle-aged woman from the area said home­less peo­ple and beg­gars had taken over the pop­u­lar Stan­more Rd com­mu­nity gar­den and peo­ple were too in­tim­i­dated to go there.

Many of the lo­cals felt Lin­wood was viewed in a neg­a­tive light by other Christchurch res­i­dents. Vi­o­lent, poor, bor­ing and rough were some of the stereo­types they had dealt with over the years. ‘‘My son won’t visit me here and doesn’t want his busi­ness car to be seen in Lin­wood at all,’’ a re­spon­dent said.

A mother-of-two said she had stopped tak­ing her chil­dren to lo­cal parks be­cause beg­gars and gang­sters had ha­rassed them.

The re­port said: ‘‘Sev­eral peo­ple talked strongly about their con­cern that Lin­wood had some­how been for­got­ten as a com­mu­nity.’’

Many res­i­dents said they wanted new shops and busi­nesses and fewer bot­tle stores to help the com­mu­nity re­vi­talise and thrive.

Lin­wood-Cen­tral-Heath­cote Com­mu­nity Board ad­vi­sor Liz Beaven said the board pro­posed on Mon­day a per­ma­nent al­co­hol ban in pub­lic places around Lin­wood Vil­lage and Doris Lusk Park.

Al­though there were con­sid­er­able prob­lems in Lin­wood, some of the res­i­dents said the peo­ple were friendly and they felt the suburb had a ‘‘fam­i­ly­like at­mos­phere’’.

A lo­cal prin­ci­pal said: ‘‘There’s in­ter­gen­er­a­tional hard­ship here, but peo­ple are pos­i­tive in the face of ad­ver­sity . . . peo­ple don’t dwell on the past . . . there’s re­silience in Lin­wood and a real com­mu­nity feel.’’

Re­port au­thor Ronji Tanielu hoped it would spark dis­cus­sion at both a lo­cal and na­tional level. ‘‘The Sal­va­tion Army be­lieves that the health and strength of New Zealand as a na­tion de­pends on hav­ing strong lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties.

‘‘We should all be look­ing at what we can do . . . we all have a stake in this as Ki­wis.’’

Tanielu said it was a ‘‘priv­i­lege’’ be­ing in­volved in the re­search and he hoped to re­turn to Lin­wood in two to four years to con­duct a new study.

PHOTO: IAIN MCGRE­GOR/STUFF

A new re­port says Lin­wood peo­ple feel for­got­ten and there isn’t enough for young peo­ple to do.

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