Largely Maori or Pacific Islanders, Doing it Tough are mostly young single-income (and often single-parent) households of small children, teens and parents. Successive generations have opted out of higher education and many are un- or underemployed, using one or two days of work per week in nearby factories and warehouses to supplement Government benefits. Unhappy with corruption, crime and the current NZ Government, they want a better deal but are nevertheless resistant to change. Local schools are to blame for failing to educate their children properly, police are failing to curb crime and homosexuals are threatening fundamental values. Those who work are dissatisfied with their current job but ambivalent about seeking better opportunities.
Walk with Me
I know the rent’s due, but I’ve had a hard week and I needed a little something to cheer me up. I was having a cup of tea, a cheeky smoke and watching TV while I waited for my daughter to drop her kids off on her way to work, when I spotted a special offer in the Kmart flier that came in the mail the other day. These gorgeous earrings were on sale; they had this pretty leafy pattern which really caught my eye — so I bought them! I don’t treat myself often, and don’t go out much anymore so what’s one pair of earrings going to hurt. That landlord can just wait a few days, I say, just like I’ve been waiting for that towel rail to be put back up.
Those kids of hers are a handful to say the least. Cute as little buttons but won’t sit still for more than two minutes, always about to break something. They’re only 5 and 4, plus the baby, but I keep telling her, you need to teach them obedience and respect for authority now. Lama’s lucky I’m still young enough to help her out; I didn’t have any help when I had her and her little brothers. They’re still coming and going as they please. I love those boys to bits, but don’t know what they ever learned at school.
I do like having the little ones around on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons when Lama’s got work. She’s doing alright these days, even thinking about buying a place with that new beau of hers. They got me one of those mobile touch phones. I worry about carrying it around in my handbag, but then she says, ‘Mum, that’s what it’s for—having it with you when you go out!’
I don’t know. More trouble than it’s worth if you ask me, like most things.