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Use Of ‘South Auckland’ Label Criticised

November 21, 2000


Manukau Mayor Criticises Use Of ‘South Auckland’ Label

Manukau Mayor Sir Barry Curtis said today that it is time to stop the sloppy and inaccurate use of the words “South Auckland” to describe the geographical area south of Auckland City, which is actually Manukau City.

“It is also time the offensive stereotypes which go with the tag ended,” he said.

“It is not only geographically inaccurate to casually use the term South Auckland, it also carries a negative connotation which can rightfully be objected to by local residents.

“The area continually referred to as South Auckland has the highest economic growth rate in the country, and of course it is separate from Auckland City. The description is used constantly and inaccurately by the media and elsewhere, when in fact there is no such place of that name.

“North Shore City is not referred to as North Auckland, Upper Hutt is not called North Wellington, and Wanganui is not West Palmerston North. So why should it be acceptable to call anywhere south of Mt Wellington as South Auckland?

“I am pleased to see some state agencies have dropped their usage of those words and look forward to other organisations also using the correct name.

“Manukau City contains great diversity. There is tremendous affluence as well as less-well off areas. It is not just a place where occasional brutal violence happens, which is the shock-horror image so often perpetuated in the media.

“There is crime here, as there is in Remuera and in North Shore City, and throughout the country. But our crime rates are declining and the rate is higher in many places elsewhere.

“The health and social problems which get enormous publicity are not widespread, they are concentrated in small pockets of the population.

“Manukau is a huge and culturally-rich city where the vast majority of people, of all races and colours, live positive and productive lives. They go to the beach and the opera, as well as to church and the Otara market.

“The vast majority don’t break the law, they achieve their goals and raise happy families. Manukau contains some of the nicest and most affluent suburbs in the country.

“The entity of ‘South Auckland’ so often referred to in the media does not exist. I have even seen the term used in media stories about Otahuhu, which is in Auckland City, and also about Papakura, which is also not in Manukau.

“Local people can quite rightly object to the simplistic stereotyping which goes with the use of the term.

“Television camera crews, for example, have for years stuck a camera outside a car cruising through the streets of Otara to film ordinary, if low cost, houses surrounded by lawns and trees, trying to suggest they are driving through the equivalent of Harlem. Otara is not Harlem.

“I have watched Otara grow and mature. It started out as an isolated suburb decades ago, but has matured into a culturally-rich, well-balanced community with tremendous spirit, even though incomes are low overall. Most residents love living there. Regular discussions with Otara city councillor Reuben Riki have confirmed my impressions.

“Other stereotypes have rightly been abandoned in recent years, as a result of rethinking our social values. It is time the South Auckland label disappeared as well as the stereotypes which go with it,” Sir Barry concluded.
-3-

ENDS

Media contact:
Philip Keating
Communications Advisor
Manukau City Council
025 464 727

or

Sir Barry Curtis
Mayor Manukau City Council
Phone: 09-262 8972 or 025 947 529

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