The Egg Day Out was held across three locations in Auckland on Good Friday. It was organised by the Equippers church and sponsored by Cadbury. A thousand eggs were to be dropped at each location from a helicopter for children to "hunt" and gather. All went to plan at the city and North Shore locations but in Manukau at the Vodafone Events Centre air traffic control prevented the chopper from flying over the site and the eggs were scattered by hand.We know that chocolate is addictive. And look at the lengths to which even adults will go when chocolate-crazed. Events like this encourage precisely this kind of behaviour: a chocolate free-for-all. Clearly we need to ban free-chocolate events. But that isn't enough. Our obesity problems combined with this kind of mayhem point strongly towards tougher regulations on access to chocolate and chocolate minimum pricing. We need many hundred-thousand-dollar grants to the University of Otago's and University of Auckland's public health departments examining binge chocolate eating. They'll surely find that we're in a deep crisis and that More Must Be Done. We could establish Chocolate Healthwatch to send out anti-chocolate press releases every Easter and Halloween.
Equippers pastor Wilhem Schaafhausen told the Herald he had expected up to 5000 people to attend at each site, but on the day about 30,000 showed up. He said one of the problems at the event was the behaviour of many parents.
"A lot of kids were getting hurt ... parents were just running in and running over the kids. I was like 'oh my goodness' and my volunteers were blown away by the behaviour of the parents," he said.
...They described other parents as greedy and abusive and said they were trying to get as many eggs as possible. Yvonne Pokotai-Ratana took her daughters to the event with some friends and their own kids. She said an adult set upon her younger daughter Yves to take any eggs she had collected.
"There was a point where the adults weren't allowed to access beyond, only the children. But arrogant adults ignored the commentator," she told the Herald.
"When the egg drop started the crowd of kids and adults rushed up the hill - most of whom I saw were adults being rough to others around them just to get the Easter eggs. My 7-year-old's face was scratched by an adult and she didn't even have an egg. Other children walking past were crying or even hurt."
A woman posted on the Facebook page that she ended up in the accident and emergency department with her young son after an incident at the event.
"Thanks for the A&E visit for my 3-year-old [after] getting pushed by adults and his fingers getting trampled on after egg ripped out of his hand," she wrote to organisers.
Or maybe we could instead start recognizing that there are just some real jerks out there and deal with the more general jerk problem. It would be ridiculous to start some anti-chocolate campaign on the basis of this weekend's event; it would be rather more appropriate to have parents go through their videos of the event, find the adults who were behaving like this, put their pictures up everywhere, and shame them for their loutish, awful behaviour. Would that we could take an individual responsibility approach more broadly.