|NZ Next Top Model Danielle Hayes|
I don’t like Danielle Hayes. Never have to be honest. I don’t like her because she has reinforced and encouraged negative perceptions about Kawerau. Her misrepresentations have done more damage to the town than anything I can think of. Danielle possesses an extremely shallow, misunderstood view of Kawerau. Her perspective is so warped and one-dimensional it is sad. It was stupid when she listed her greatest achievements as not getting pregnant and/or been in jail. It was laughable when she said the show was her ticket out of Kawerau and it was sad when she said “I hate this town”.
Pregnancy and incarceration are the exception not the rule and it is beyond comprehension why she would think otherwise. And why did she need a TV show to leave Kawerau? Why could she not go to University or Polytech? Why could she not search for employment somewhere else? There are plenty of options available for someone who wants to leave Kawerau. She makes it sound like the town had cast some magic spell on her so she could never leave – the reality is that she is just plain useless. In terms of her “I hate this town” comment - I don’t care but only as long as she keeps that hate to herself. Instead she has paraded it for all to see and propagated some pretty foul and deluded notions of what the town is like.
Danielle’s views are shaped through her superficial interpretation of her narrow experiences and are probably reinforced by ignorant people surrounding her. She shows no awareness and understanding of the community beyond the aesthetic - her views do not conform to reality and contain no insight. It is incredibly sad because she had the potential to reshape negative perceptions of Kawerau and serve as a colossal role model for young girls in Kawerau. Unfortunately she failed on both counts. She merely perpetuated the idea that Kawerau is a dead end town that they (young people) have no chances of escaping bar exceptional luck. It is an enormous tragedy that Danielle failed. Rather than earn the admiration and respect of young girls in the town she has earnt derision and disrespect. Certainly her achievement serves as a template to be emulated but her character serves as poor guide.
The statistics paint an unflattering picture of Kawerau yet the reality is not what you would expect. Community pride and closeness is possibly unrivalled and social problems such as joblessness and teenage pregnancy have not manifested into crime, deprivation etc. Kawerau has produced many notable people including Tony Ryall (although he will never admit it now), Olympian Sarah Walker, famous entertainer John Rowles, lawyer and activist Annette Sykes and beauty queen Ria Van Dyke.
None of this is intended to take anything away from Danielle’s outstanding achievement. She deserves praise for doing so well and I congratulate her on that count. Where she deserves disapproval is in her attitude towards Kawerau and her miserable failure to act as a positive role model for young girls in the town.