Removing ‘Lin-hood’ stereotype from ‘forgotten’ community
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.
A new report says Linwood people feel forgotten and there isn’t enough for young people to do.