Warning: This article contains an incessant, opportunistic and misleading use of the word ‘community’ 

Board members for the Masterton Community Library say that they have no option other than to install several poker machines to ensure the future of their community.

With cuts to education and the wafer-thin promise from  local councils post amalgamation-debate to work better together, it seems the 151 year old institution has been forced to utilise the pokie machine’s power to service the community better.

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Taking a leaf out of other local community organisations such as Trust House, librarian Mandy Gween says it’s not too different to the local RSA or Sports Bar providing their patrons and community members with the opportunity to irresponsibly gamble what little money they do have for a short and sweet hit of synthesised endorphins.

“The RSA on Essex Street proudly boast an entire room of pokie machines inside of their cherished community venue,” says Mrs Gween.

“It’s been really good for their community. They have so much extra funding to give back to the community. Without pokies grants Aratoi wouldn’t be able to be enjoyed regularly and en mass by some of our towns more disadvantaged citizens- who sometimes after a long shift at JNL, Breadcraft or simply on Dole-day just needed to look at the abstract creations of upper middle class housewives or well known local bohemians.”

Mrs Gween added that other good came from pokies too, such as “The netball courts, the new sculpture over the roundabout, and the nice new surroundings at the Trust House owned Jackson Street Bar- where you can still get a pint for $6 and watch grown men and women head-butt each other at 1am most Saturdays”.

“Our library has been battling for some time and it seems this is the only way. It’s really about the community” she enthused.

“We didn’t want to do this initially, because of the euphoric cartoon style noises and the machine’s flashing lights make will probably distract some readers, but it’s a decision we have had to make to stay afloat”.

Poker Machines, colloquially known as ‘the pokies’ are renowned across New Zealand- particularly in Wairarapa- for their ability to create cash flow that serves to benefit relatively functional citizens in the community, while only disadvantaging  a small group of  seniors, single mothers with a penchant for tattoo’s of the lower back, and their male ex-partners who all suffer from an addiction to gambling.

By taking money from these members of the community (problem gamblers), the pokies give back to the rest of the community by passing that money on to community organisations, who then pay themselves and give the rest back to the community in the form of legacy projects and/or public displays of their hobbies. Its a win-win.

The Whiorarapa Times Age contacted well known Pokie operator Trust House and spoke to CEO Helen Bollard who said she agrees strongly with Mrs. Gween. She hastened to add that Trust House supports other community causes too, like recent grants to Dressage Wellington for $3000. “The Wellington Dressage Community would be at a complete loss if left to fund their own expensive events in Masterton. Horses shit nearly as much they eat, apparently.” Bollard added.

Mrs. Bollard recalls another grant of $2000 made in 2016 to the organisers of ‘Deuce Days’ (a gathering of hot rods & vintage cars held in Masterton) to help with travel costs for an overseas guest to help attract more participants to come to the Wairarapa. “That may sound confusing but the long and short of it is that this type of gratuitous money flinging simply would not be possible without pokies- i’m surprised its even legal ha ha [sic]”.

However, later into the casual interview in a busy Masterton CDB cafe Mrs. Bollard’s enthusiasm to talk to the Whiorarapa Times Age reporter quickly evaporated after some relatively mild questions about problem gamblers and the moral integrity of the whole business model which was initially reported on Stuff (must read). The WTA was later directed via email to peruse Trust House’s policy document on prevention of problem gambling. However this reporter wonders how effective this policy document is as he regularly sees the same problem gamblers plugging green lizzies into the pokies,  usually while scratching their arms and juggling between nursing the baby in the pram next to them, and supping a tall glass of fizzy and house liquor.


Story inspired from the Betoota Advocate and is obviously not to be taken seriously beyond the point i’m making.