Scribe shares story to end gambling harm
"There is a light at the end of the tunnel but you have to be willing to walk it."
These were the words from New Zealand rapper Scribe, in Invercargill yesterday for an event aimed at stopping harmful gambling. Te Whare Tu, Te Whare Ora, was held last night with the theme Choice not Chance.
The kapa haka event gave Southland finalists in the Scribe With Us competition a chance to perform.
Scribe With Us asked entrants to write about the harm caused by gambling through either a rap, song, poem or story.
Scribe - real name Malo Luafutu - started the competition for the Choice Not Chance campaign and used his own story about losing money and important relationships from playing the pokies.
"It's something I felt really strongly about. It's important for youth to hear these messages," the rapper said. "It's an addiction that can destroy your relationships, your self-esteem and keep you isolated from reality."
His addiction started when he began playing Housie at the age of just 7, he said.
"Growing up, it was something I thought was normal. It just seemed like the thing to do."
But his girlfriend leaving him was a wake-up call and he sought help.
"I realised this isn't right and I shouldn't have to lie about what I'm doing."
Nga Kete Matauranga Pounamu Trust Maori health promoter Leoma Tawaroa said gambling was a major and growing problem in Southland.
Total gambling machine proceeds in Invercargill between January 1 and March 31 were nearly $3.9 million, making up 1.9 per cent of the overall na- tional gambling machine spend of $204m.
Entrants in the Scribe With Us competition will be judged by the public through online voting and winners will be announced in early September. firstname.lastname@example.org
The Southland Times