Monday, 23 August 2010


Maori are faced with some choices that could lead to a total transformation of their society. The first is to cocoon themselves in a ritualistic paternalistic past or unleash the warriors within to fight for the lives of their children.

Two recent announcements, one by Paula Bennett they other by Pita Sharples show the face of the past and the face of a future.

Paula has effectively told every iwi leader in the country that its time that they became proactively involved in ensuring their own whanau get the best start in life. Sort of a charity begins at the iwi approach.

The first thing that happened was the iwi leaders got all whiny about money. What crap. All it takes is for people to say no more, to say enough, to say what you are doing is not right. The " it takes a whole village to raise a child approach.

If Maori truly believe in Whanau Ora they need to show that it can be practiced at grass roots level it starts with them. So its about communities facing the problems within and dealing with them as individuals and collectively.

Paula Bennett's speech to the Iwi leaders has sent ripples through Maoridom and she has no doubt created some very powerful enemies who will try to undermine her rather than getting off there arses and into the homes of the their whanau and hapu who are killing and maiming their kids. That doesn't take money - just time and effort and some personal and tribal responsibility.

Bennetts stance is in stark contrast to that of Sharples. He is not just cuddling up to the gangs, he is playing a far more intimate game. It is extremely troubling and its a hallmark of the approach taken by Maori leaders of yesterday.

His calls for the Black Power to be treated differently than the rest of society sends the worst of all messages. It legitimises them and it sets them above the law. The only thing that Sharples should embrace are strategies to reduce the numbers of kids joining up and strategies to get the women away from men who kill and maim. Strategies that ensure that gang members and their kids find some respect for the law and understand the consequences of risky behaviour.

The Gang creed is still one of violence not peace and the only elements of Maori tikanga that they take on board are the showy ritualistic ones, the ones that dont actually do much for anyone but waste a shit load of time.

It is time for the strong women we see every day trying to do the best at the terrible cliff of evil that children are hurled off every day to take a greater role in leading
them away from the brink.

Simply said, the current crop of male Maori leaders have failed their people. It does not matter how many hotels they buy, how many tree they plant - it matters not a whit when the life of their mokos are shaken from them on a weekly basis.

The silly posturing antics we see every day down on the Marae and in the corridors of power as they strut their arrogance - is not saving our kids. Its time for them to stand aside let Maori women lead and let the true Maori renaissance begin.

Maori women like Paula Bennett - a woman who is Shakin the Tree.


Anonymous said...

well said

David said...

As an immigrant Pom (20 years ago) it has always astounded me that maori have this celebrated warrior culture yet have such appalling stats for violence and no one makes the connection. I remember the end of the "troubles" in Ireland was solved by the women folk, sad but Paula apart there are NO strong, passionate Maori women in positions of power to lead this change. Dont leave it to blokes as we are bloody hopeless. get over the Maori mysogeny and you might see some progress.