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Show unites community against drinking

Last updated 05:00 20/02/2013
Tony Harrison
BE FREE: Tony Harrison says: ‘‘P is still a major issue and if parents turn a blind eye, they’re making a big mistake.’’

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The grand finale of the Be Free talent quest will set the Kerikeri Domain rocking on Sunday.

Competing for two coveted titles are five entries in the dance category and six in the music division.

The day kicks off at 11am, finishing at 4.30pm.

Organisers are catering for about 1,000 people who will be entertained by quality performances by local talent, including bands that didn't make the final cut but are offering to play for free.

Food stalls, bouncy castles and information booths will complete the scene.

Be Free and Bay of Islands P&I Show have joined forces to stage talent quests, with semifinals at the Waimate North Show on November 10, and the finals at the Domain this weekend.

Be Free, a community organisation that promotes freedom from addictions, is joining the campaign calling on the government to change the country's culture of heavy drinking.

"Dismantling the unbridled commercialisation of alcohol in New Zealand is the key to the changes required," Be Free chairman Tony Harrison says.

Be Free works to help Far North people achieve a life free from drug and alcohol problems.

It was established in 2006, in response to what was seen as a desperate need in the Bay of Islands for community-based drug and alcohol services.

Mr Harrison says things haven't changed since then and he receives calls from people at the end of their tether with shattered lives because of drugs and alcohol.

As part of its campaign to steer young people into healthy lifestyles, Be Free is aiming to set up a Youth Music and Mentoring Programme.

With sufficient funding, the programme aims to provide free music tuition and mentoring for local youngsters and a place for them to practice and play - the intention is to provide a positive focus and opportunities to grow in an environment that encourages freedom from drug and alcohol abuse.

Methamphetamine, other drugs and alcohol remain a problem in the Far North, Mr Harrison says.

"There are a lot of things happening out there.

"P is still a major issue and if parents turn a blind eye, they're making a big mistake. Alcohol is a big issue too. It's up to parents to see their kids are acting responsibly." Alcohol and Drug Help line 0800 787 797 10am to 10pm.

Email Tony Harrison at musicwks@ihug.co.nz or phone 021 583 986 or 09 407 7860.

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