Let’s go back in time with Anton, to the idyllic days when Maori kids were never beaten

Uh oh.

Alf thought his good friend Paula had done a damned good job with that White Paper on Vulnerable Children (see here).

Not so.

One of our special citizens points out (here) that it does not address the priority needs of Māori children.

The special citizen in this case is Anton Blank, Executive Director of a Māori child advocacy organisation (which, curiously, is not clearly identified in his media statement).

He said –

“When it comes to New Zealand’s profile of child abuse and maltreatment, the elephant in the room in is the massive over-representation of Maori children. Half of the children killed through maltreatment in New Zealand are Māori, and our children are twice as likely as other groups to be subjected to child abuse.

“The White Paper fails to specifically address this issue. The government needs to develop a Māori-specific strategy in partnership with iwi, Māori leaders, and Māori experts. The strategy would need sustained and proportionate investment, over a number of decades, to transform Māori parenting and eradicate violence from Māori homes.”

Hmm.

Can he suggest someone to provide the appropriate advice?

You betcha he can (but only if you ask, because Alf reckons he would be much too modest to tell you otherwise).

He happens to be the chief executive of Te Kahui Mana Ririki (if Mrs Grumble has done her research correctly) and its objective happens to be the elimination of Maori child abuse.

Blank’s statement says –

“More than 800 workers around the country have completed training in our Māori parenting model ‘Tikanga Whakatipu Ririki’.

Early research tells us that whānau are responding well to the training, because of the Māori values at the core of the model.

Any interventions we develop to address the needs of vulnerable Māori children must emerge out of a Māori cultural base.”

This defect with Paula’s white paper becomes glaringly obvious, now your attention has been drawn to it – eh?

Alf had forgotten about Te Kahui Mana Ririki.

He shouldn’t have.

Just a few weeks ago (see here) the group was calling for a $3 million campaign to persuade Maori parents to return to traditional non-violent parenting.

The report bearing this news pointed out that Te Kahui Mana Ririki is an advocacy group founded after the 2008 Maori Child Abuse Summit, which was prompted by the death of Rotorua toddler Nia Glassie.

It further pointed out that we Pakeha are the real culprits behind the child abuse among Maori.

Yep. We came, we saw, but instead of conquering we signed the bloody treaty and things have gone downhill for our special citizens – the indigenous people – since then.

But Blank’s outfit aims to put things to rights.

As the aforementioned Stuff report said –

The group has developed a parenting model based on traditional Maori beliefs.

Ririki executive director Anton Blank said research showed that, historically, Maori were not violent towards children.

“Insulting and hitting children was banned because the chiefs believed that this broke the spirits of the children.”

Mr Blank said Ririki wanted a government-funded campaign that “pointed our people back to these values”.

“Rates of family violence for Maori are high and we will be asking the Government to invest in communications to change attitudes and behaviours in our families.”

Then, in case you missed it, the pitch for the government to pump money into a campaign was reiterated:

“Our whanau need new ways of parenting without violence. We want to precipitate major change and this requires long-term investment over two to three generations.”

Alf was appropriately abashed, on learning that Maori child abuse is really his fault – and the fault of his forebears.

If we hadn’t come crashing in on the scene, Maori would still be living their traditional lifestyles.

Life must have been idyllic for a Maori child, before the country was colonised by Europeans.

Mind you, it might not have been so idyllic once the child grew up and finished up on the losing side of a scrap with the neighbours.

In that case (as Alf’s constituents learned here yesterday) he or she would have been enslaved and – worse – could have finished up in the cooking pot or the hangi pit or whatever.

Dunno if its better to be beaten or eaten.

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