A celebration to mark the 70th anniversary of the first Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) group in New Zealand takes place at Takapuna Grammar School in late June.
The Takapuna Grammar School venue was chosen as the closest venue to the first meeting (held in Devonport), which could accommodate such a huge celebration. The public is invited to attend and hear more about the history of A.A. in New Zealand, and to find out how ex-problem drinkers live happy, healthy lives by supporting each other through a mutual understanding of their challenges.
The meeting not only finds out more about the history of A.A. in New Zealand, but also sees a live A.A. meeting in progress, and provides an opportunity to ask questions.
The first meeting took place in June 1948, in dentist Alf Joughin’s Devonport surgery. Alf is remembered as a “real gentleman”, always smartly dressed with a colourful bow tie, and passionate about helping others recover from the disease of alcoholism.
The Ministry of Health’s New Zealand Health Survey in 2015-16 indicated that about one in five (21%) New Zealand adults, nearly one million people, had a hazardous drinking pattern. It also revealed that 44% of New Zealand men and 30% of women aged between 18 and 24-years old, engaged in hazardous drinking.
There are now 464 weekly meetings of A.A. groups in New Zealand, with more than a quarter (139) held in Auckland and 15 held on the North Shore every week (see map).
Anyone wishing to get in touch with A.A. can 0800 AAWORKS (0800 229 6757), or visit the A.A. website www.aa.org.nz