Our feature article about the Conference is written by Rebecca Ruwhiu-Collins from Hapai Te Hauora Hapui.
"Gambling is making us sick. This was a theme given in Dr Lance O’Sullivan’s key note speech at the recent International Gambling conference. In this presentation, he set the scene for the current state of gambling in Aotearoa, its inequities which disproportionately impact Māori, and its effect on health for individuals and their whānau. He explained that, “it’s bad enough that we have diseases of poverty in a first-world country like New Zealand, but to see them exacerbated by pokies is extremely frustrating. This is the definition of a preventable epidemic".
As an attendee, what really stood out to me in this presentation, was how gambling is regarded as an individual behaviour but it stems from wider environmental and systematic stress. It is this which creates a cycle of deprivation. This contrasts with common representations given in mainstream media of gambling being the fault of the individual; a result of personal failing and lack of self-control.
But if gambling stems from larger structural issues like predatory placement of gambling facilities, what can one person do to make a difference?"
Read the rest here...
Rebecca Ruwhiu-Collins has been working as the National Coordinator for Prevention and Minimising Gambling Harm at Hapai Te Hauora since April 2017.
She has over 10 years’ experience in Maori Hauora with expertise in tobacco addiction treatment, harm reduction, the development and delivery of the national training for tobacco addiction, and community mobilisation.
Rebecca’s strong leadership approach for engaging people from all levels of government, health, finance, NGO’s, corporate, and community, encourages collaborative work towards a strategic direction creating a collective common goal to increase the health and wellbeing of the community.
She enjoys strengthening service provision through innovative concepts with the aim of ensuring health sector capacity and capability remains cutting edge.