Doctor stresses positive side of the Gathering

Nelson Mail letters to the editor, 6 January 1998

Sir, I was disappointed to see the front page article on January 1 dwell on the negative aspects of the Gathering.

The traffic jam that caused a "major headache" for Takaka Hill users also ensured vehicles were searched for alcohol. The organisers spent $25,000 on adequate security to carry out the search and monitor the event. Thus there were no assaults, pelting with bottles, or drunken aggression.

Why was the single drunk child returned home to his parents mentioned on the front page while the 8,000 partying more sensibly than their counterparts in Whangamata etc did not rate a mention? The organisers explicitly said parents were to accompany children. Why did you not note it was a family event, with babies and older folks evident? If the boy was so sick, why was he not admitted to hospital? Sounds like the media losing touch with reality again.

The organisers, who do not make a profit, did not get the acknowledgement they deserve from a district which must have benefited financially from the influx. It was exceptional to turn a barren hill covered in sinkholes into a modern dance arena.

As a doctor who has worked in accident and emergency in both islands, I see more "drugged-out people spaced to the eyeballs" after the pubs close than I saw in two days at the Gathering.

Dr ROSEMARY BRUCE BA MB ChB, RD1 Asburton, 3 January
Nelson Mail letters to the editor, 6 January 1998

Much of the Mail's coverage of the Gathering was extremely positive, and the newspaper has congratulated the organisers in an editorial. A full-length feature tomorrow will expand our coverage. However, we still believe that a major traffic jam blocking a state highway for several hours and a 12-year-old said to be drunk, drugged and suffering a suspected ruptured pancreas are news - Editor

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