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Outrageous and courageous kids

  • September 13th, 2009

I love the remnant New Zealand kids who defy the prune faces, and clucking of our official ‘no-risks’ culture.  They do what the most vital kids of every generation have done – test their daring with feats that could kill them if they go wrong.    

While working in Hamilton a few weeks ago I was delighted to wake to Jonathon Carver of the Mormon Few  headlined in the Waikato Times for riding the concrete arches of Fairfield Bridge over the Waikato. Predictably they also found someone to threaten prosecution immediately.

"Waikato road policing manager, Inspector Leo Tooman, took a dim view of the stunt, and considered it dangerous and foolish, and a risk to the safety of other road users."

Now Mr Carver has been charged. I hope he defends the charge, if only to force the officials out to squash lingering insubordination or signs of animal spirits to show themselves in all their sourness. I wonder what ‘output class’ this charge satisfies in the Police budget. It clearly is not related to violence or assaults on children or any of the other claimed priorities for prosecution resource..

The prune faces have not yet been able to kill deeply traditional means of testing oneself, such as climbing mountains, or hunting on one’s own.

No doubt they’re on the way. They’ll start with ‘reasonable restrictions’ such as prohibiting trips when the Police have issued no go weather warnings (in order to protect the safety of staff who might be called out on search and rescue" no doubt). Then it will move to banning climbing without top ropes. Banning hunting without having passed the requisite NZQA validated safety course can not be far off.

There’s nothing outlandish about this. Many other activities of less inherent risk are now heavily regulated, and consequently more expensive. Think motor racing, where race offcials now have such onerous duties that only the rich can afford it. No wonder boy racing is such a buzz. There are two forms of excitement – the speed itself, and the risk of prosecution.

It is not in the same league but I suppose I should have been alarmed when my daughter  and 11 other girls got a van to take on the Undie 500 to Dunedin.  Instead I was excited for her. I feared the Undie 500 had been crushed by Police and University threats. Of course the Police should charge rioters. But they should also understand that the risk of being charged is part of what attracts the riot in their safety sanitized world, just as it may be encouraging kids to drink till drunk and many other self harming activities.


  • Lindsay
  • September 13th, 2009
  • 3:27 pm

Your daughter’s cohort is being described as “rich little white kids” by the Minister of police. ‘Rioting’ is unacceptable. But I would have thought the Minister should at least appear to be colour-blind.


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