Everyone needs a place to call home. Photo / Michael Cunningham
Having a turangawaewae (a sense of identity) a place to stand, where you feel safe, and can call home is central to your identity and self-worth.
It doesn’t have to be a mansion. For me it was — and to this day remains — one room of a boarding house in the so-called slum days in Freemans Bay, Auckland.
That’s where I lived with my parents and younger sister for the first wonderful, carefree, and stable eight years of my life.
To this day almost 55 years later, I regard 72 Franklin Rd as my spiritual home. Even though I don’t own it, I associate the essence of who I am with the stability of having one place to call home for those important early developmental years of my life.
Some reflections I’ve made over the years:
- A house that becomes a home is the foundation for a stable family.
- Having a place to call home is central to the wellbeing of a child.
- Kids from stable homes are less likely to become involved in nefarious antisocial activities.
- Almost all criminal activities like ram raids, violence, drug and alcohol abuse, are symptoms. They are not the root cause of the “problem”.
The problem is one of socioeconomics arising from poverty and the paucity of spirit that comes from not having good parents, role models, and teachers who can guide and teach children meaningful values and principles.
Almost every modern social issue (most prevalent in urban cities) is socioeconomic. Regrettably, it’s much easier to focus on the symptoms and not the cause. That’s why our rates of mental illness and incarceration are so high.
Aotearoa New Zealand needs a housing-first policy. Finland does and has effectively ended homelessness by providing housing for everyone in need. A housing-first policy would create stable homes. Safe homes will lead to a demonstrable reduction in crime and mental illness.
Heartbreakingly for Maori, Pākehā land ownership laws revolve around individual property rights that are anathema to Maori.
Until a genuine pan-Maori leader appears who can unite and not divide us, we will remain a nation divided. That leader needs to be able to put the greater good before their individual self-interest.
Therein lies the real problem. I’m all right Jack, so stuff you.
Boris Sokratov is the producer of the Nutters Club Radio Show. He helped establish the Key to Life Charitable Trust, which supports mental health advocate Mike King and the Just Move Charitable Health Trust, along with Rob Campbell and Duncan Garner, that supports Dave Letele and his BBM programme.