Baker’s Banter—23 January 2018

Just after Christmas I was asked by the local Police to help out with a video clip they were creating to highlight the issues and challenges faced at Karioitahi Beach.

The challenges are complex and there is no easy solution as some like to suggest. At the end of the day it simply comes down to personal responsibility, decision making and respecting, not only other people, but an area that has some very special natural and environmental values that need to be looked after.

The coastline provides a wonderful place that can be shared and used by a range of people doing different things. Unfortunately the actions of a few tend to ruin it for the majority and this then requires a degree of enforcement which the Police will certainly be undertaking this year. Purely on the basis that there are continued complaints and incidents there that demand such action. The easy way to avoid strife is to be sensible and not behave like you are the only person in the world wanting to be there.

I note my last article before Christmas upset a couple of people. Probably good to clarify my position on social media. I actually am a real fan of social media and in general how we use technology now. However, with the good comes the bad and I get frustrated when I read personal attacks, foul language and fiction stated as if fact, by what is usually a small number of people. Things like the grapevines and community social media sites actually play an increasingly important role in our community and provide an ever expanding reach. The people who manage these sites do so, it seems, as volunteers and because they see the benefit to the community. It must be like sweeping ball bearings, impossible to control those on the edges.

We see a lot in main stream media about online bullying and the impact of that, particularly on those vulnerable to such comments. Some of the personal attacks and generalisations made about people and organisations is nothing short of online bullying and the foul and offensive language used, often in the heat of the moment, is inexcusable. Social media feeds are open to anyone, the hard working administrators simply cannot filter everything. My view on how the younger generation use their phones has also changed over time. I think back to my teen years where we had the start of push button phones at home, no computers or mobiles and how rare it was that we actually communicated with our friends. Today our ability to be in touch and to share what we are doing has, I believe, brought people far closer together in both a positive and negative way, given access to our private lives. Amazingly I don’t miss too many of my friend’s birthdays now and seeing what people are up to enriches my world and knowledge. So I love social media and technology, but when used appropriately.

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