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Make a stand against Fast Food places

At 5.30 I beat the streets of Mangere, South Auckland with my feet. Yep, walking at least 5-6 kms every morning before heading off to work. On one of these mornings I notice that there is new construction work happening on Bader Drive….

I’m curious as to what this new building may be, but then come to a firm conclusion that it’s probably a new police station as the one we currently have looks pretty rundown and it’s been like that for years. Fast forward to two weeks later – and lo and behold the building is almost complete! But it is not a new police station like I had thought but another fast food takeaway with a massive Carls Jnr sign on the front of the building. I feel sick in the stomach and continue on.

But this is what gets me – why Mangere? Why not Remuera or Parnell or Mission Bay? Why Mangere, Glen Innes, Henderson and Takanini – areas where health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity are not only most prevalent and probably increasing everyday – but areas where the majority of its population (predominantly Maori and Pacific), are dying from these diseases?

What I don’t understand is - where is the community? The local MPs, the council members, the church leaders and members of their respective congregations, the kaumatuas, the doctors, the health workers, the community workers, the schools, the people?

C’mon, you can’t honestly say that they still don’t know and understand that these fast food chains are hurting our communities. That’s not a viable argument anymore – for our communities are being saturated with information about the importance of healthy eating and healthy living. And it’s not as if we don’t have enough of these places in our communities. Or is this issue not that important to us?

I know it’s about freedom of choice and all that hoohaa. But if it’s not there - then people won’t choose it. But then again, why does it have to be a fast food place? Why can’t it be a healthy place? The bottom line is that our people are dying – people from our families, our churches, our communities – dying from diseases related to bad food - are we going to let that continue? We gotta make a stand for our children, our families, our community. If the Otara community can make a successful stance against gambling places within the area, why can’t the community in Mangere, or Takanini, or Henderson, or Glen Innes make a stance against these fast food places? Just a thought.

Kia kaha everyone

Sam Lafolua
Mentoring and Support Programme Coordinator
Pacific Heartbeat