The role of Iwi with abused kids

August 15th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Michael Fox at Stuff reports:

The Green Party wants iwi empowered to oversee the placement of Maori children removed from unsafe homes under proposed child-protection laws.

Co-leader Metiria Turei said Maori children were far more likely to be affected by the changes and called the Government’s plan “a condescending colonial approach that New Zealand could do without”.

Calling something a “colonial” approach is a lazy way of saying you disagree with it. How is it a colonial approach? Does it target Maori kids only?

Having said that, I’d love Iwi to take a more prominent role in helping prevent , and having them involved in placement of kids could be well worth considering.

The Maori Party said yesterday that every effort should be made to ensure Maori children removed from their parents’ care were placed with extended family.

As I understand it, that is the current policy of CYF and the courts. But there is a problem with the status quo policy.

Sometimes an entire extended family is dysfunctional. There have been examples of kids getting abused or neglected multiple times as they rotate through various family members.

Of course it is better for a kid to go to an aunt/uncle or a cousin, than a stranger. But only if they are capable, competent and willing. Not all extended families are.

Turei said yesterday that the Greens wanted extra iwi oversight over new permanent placements for Maori children removed from their parents if they were settled outside of their wider families.

“Given that the Social Development Ministry and population data show Maori kids are three times as likely to be removed from their parents as non-Maori, extra care is needed to ensure tamariki will be genuinely better off in the state’s care,” she said.

As I said, I think that could well be worthwhile. It may depend though on how connected a family is to their Iwi. Many urban Maori do not have strong connections to their Iwi.

Turei repeated criticism that the Government was not addressing poverty in its proposed measures, even though it was a major contributor to child abuse.

People use poverty as an excuse to do nothing. Our rate of child abuse is far higher than many countries with far far worse poverty. To imply that all the Government needs to do is increase the level of welfare in New Zealand and you solve child abuse is simplistic. We actually have one of the most generous welfare states in the world.

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30 Responses to “The role of Iwi with abused kids”

  1. Alan (1,087 comments) says:

    An “iwi” has no more legal standing than Howick Bowls club.

    Let the state do its job without unneeded complications and racial concerns.

    Welfare of the child is all that matters, nothing else.

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  2. RRM (9,834 comments) says:

    Ok Ok Metiria you’ve made your point, we’ll get the cheque book out, how much money will Iwis need this time?

    As a pakeha descendent of a descendent of a descendent of a descendent of a descendent of an EVIL ENGLISH COLONIAL WHITE MOTHER FUCKER, I can’t help but feel that maori child abuse is all my fault, and I should be paying Iwi to have lunch a hui about it at the very least…

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  3. Alan (1,087 comments) says:

    This reminds me of the situation with the grave robbers from a couple of years ago.

    An “iwi” has no legal rights or standing, each of us Maori or otherwise enjoys the equal protection of the law as individuals.

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  4. BlairM (2,321 comments) says:

    Of course, how silly of me. When you have foxes attacking the henhouse, the obvious solution is to put other foxes in charge of the hens. Makes total sense.

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  5. RRM (9,834 comments) says:

    But seriously… “a colonial approach”… WTF?

    Is that something that exists in a flippant, casually racist alternative universe where a “native approach” would be that if your neighbours are abusing their kids, you’d eat the neighbour and enslave the kids?

    :neutral: Not impressed.

    Green party has declined a LOT since Jeanette Fitzsimons retired and Rod Donald passed away…

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  6. Manolo (13,580 comments) says:

    Like an ostrich, the racist Maori Party and is unable to face reality: some of its people are the worst offenders. Now they get support from the Luddites!

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  7. RRM (9,834 comments) says:

    Manolo – I think you’ll find this is the racist Green Party we’re talking about here ;-)

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  8. CameronFoxton (28 comments) says:

    I think by colonial approach she means that the Pakeha way of doing things is the primary/only option at the moment and is asking why not give Maori a chance to come up with a Maori solution to a problem that plagues the Maori community more than others. I used to, like the knee jerk redneck I can be, get angry by cases of “grave robbers” but there are other points of view that are worth considering even when you don’t agree. I think the below might be helpful;

    http://mauistreet.blogspot.co.nz/2012/07/no-your-law-is-not-superior.html

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  9. Akaroa (552 comments) says:

    Heard a Maori lady on National radio this morning really getting stuck in to this latest Northland child-hunting sexual low-life.

    No pussy-footing about with erudite classifications or special social reasons (excuses) for his offending. She really told it like it is. From what she said its clear to me that the outcomes and community after-effects of this offending will not go away any time soon – and, boy, was she mad about that!!.

    Good to see that someone is still able to call a spade a spade instead of coming up with all the “enlightened’ ‘intelligent’ and ‘forgiving’ rubbish that so often accompanies the outing of yet another blot on the face of our society.

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  10. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    “We actually have one of the most generous welfare states in the world.”

    Swap have for HAD.

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  11. adze (2,105 comments) says:

    “I used to, like the knee jerk redneck I can be, get angry by cases of “grave robbers””

    I suspect you are concern trolling, but there is nothing “redneck” in getting angry about relatives hijacking the body of a loved one against the wishes of their immediate family, and indeed those of the deceased themselves. That is an absolutely contemptible practice.

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  12. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    We actually have one of the most generous welfare states in the world.

    I think there lies the problem. If people are required to work for a living then they won’t have all day to get drunk and kill their kids.

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  13. wreck1080 (3,883 comments) says:

    The problem is that child abuse is so prevalent among maori that you’d just be moving kids from one abusive environment to another.

    Had a recent experience kids playing a rugby match against a team from a ‘maori’ area . The maori kids were using the f***-c ***word, encouraged and congratulated each other for punching opposition players (2 punched a player on the ground) .

    This is under 8’s.

    So, in a community like that, where do you move kids?

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  14. dubya (229 comments) says:

    My own parents were foster carers for some years. A young Maori boy was placed with us briefly, he had been shunted around his extended family, much of it under the stewardship of Child Youth and Family. At age four, he had no teeth, having been fed cordial instead of infant formula. Massive behavioural problems, and was underdeveloped physically as well as mentally. CYFS turned up with Maori language books (the boy could not read or count to ten) so that he wouldn’t ‘forget his roots’ and planned to send him back to his family from what I could gather. He was quite disturbed and had developed an obsession with fire; he’d been burned with cigarettes as an infant which probably contributed to that.

    That child deserved to forget his roots.

    In an unexpected turn, his father got out of prison, married a steely white lady, who fought for custody and eventually adopted the boy – he’s doing well. Sadly that doesn’t happen enough.

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  15. scrubone (3,095 comments) says:

    “The problem with whanau culture is that it elevates the whanau above the nuclear family, thus undermining the roles and responsibilities of parents to their own children. … In modern Maori culture, whanau claims regularly supersede and trump the legitimate claims of children upon their own parents. This, in turn, entices and tempts far too many Maori parents to look to their extended families to take over what it is their responsibility to provide for their own children.”

    http://jtcontracelsum.blogspot.co.nz/2010/09/idolatry-and-maori-child-abuse-part-ii.html

    Perhaps the problem would be better addressed by strengthening and educating parents.

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  16. thedavincimode (6,710 comments) says:

    Why am I reminded of our most publicised incidents of body snatching by concerned iwi?

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  17. Kea (12,388 comments) says:

    Heard a Maori lady on National radio this morning really getting stuck in to this latest Northland child-hunting sexual low-life.

    No pussy-footing about with erudite classifications or special social reasons (excuses) for his offending. She really told it like it is.

    Would she have done that if the pedo was Maori ?

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  18. CameronFoxton (28 comments) says:

    No I wasn’t trolling, my point was that while I think its not acceptable to steal someone’s husband and someone’s father from a morgue and speed away in the night to bury them hundreds of Ks away, its equally unhelpful to assume my culture’s superiority without first trying to understand the reasons for the other parties actions.

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  19. dubya (229 comments) says:

    I don’t think anyone was assuming cultural supremacy, Cameron. They were just making the easy conclusion that taking a body from a morgue is reprehensible, regardless of culture. That the assailants used their ‘culture’ as an excuse for their crime is equally disgusting.

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  20. scrubone (3,095 comments) says:

    I don’t think anyone was assuming cultural supremacy, Cameron. They were just making the easy conclusion that taking a body from a morgue is reprehensible, regardless of culture.

    If it were two cultures who had never met and were unable to communicate that would be one thing. But there can be zero doubt that those who took the body fully understood the culture they were offending.

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  21. Rex Widerstrom (5,349 comments) says:

    Instead of puffing up her not inconsiderable frame to huff about “colonialism” Ms Turei could perhaps ask Aboriginal people how such a PC scheme is working for their children:

    A former adviser to the Department for Child Protection wants Aboriginal leaders to help government overhaul the system that uses relatives as foster carers because children are being put at risk.

    Associate Professor Ted Wilkes [note: who's Aboriginal], who was the chairman of the DCP’s Aboriginal Reference Group, said the “noble” efforts to keep indigenous children in their culture led to substandard care for some.

    The Weekend West revealed on Saturday that concerns about the welfare of foster child “Kaylee” were raised just before her death in the Goldfields in August last year, five months after being moved from a carer in Perth and placed with relatives…

    Professor Wilkes said that though he did not know the details of Kaylee’s case, he had been concerned for several years about Aboriginal foster children.

    “We all have the noblest of intentions,” he said. “We all want to do the right thing and to send our children on the right path but we’re faltering.

    “There are some kids put into foster care with their relatives and it works well, but there are others where there’s not proper scrutiny of the human beings involved and there isn’t proper support and invariably the system collapses.

    “It’s a lot to ask someone to look after another person’s child and sometimes these families are coping with their own kids but once foster children come in, they lose the ability to cope.

    “We can’t just say because it’s a member of the extended family, that’s the best option. We would think that is the case because it provides kinship, which is important, but that isn’t always the case.”

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  22. scrubone (3,095 comments) says:

    We would think that is the case because it provides kinship, which is important, but that isn’t always the case.

    That seems to be a key here – is it just me or are the worst cases of child abuse are ones where the extended family is not distant, not disproving, but actually active participants?

    A culture of extended family can be a good thing. But it depends on the group culture whether it’s a tool for accountability or avoiding responsibility and affirmation of bad behaviour.

    I recall a few years ago when the Maori sovereignty movement was making major waves, and you often found the young people abusing the flag in front of their elders who fought under it, telling their elders “we are doing this for you”. Young people finding fulfillment in what feels good rather than duty, and the rejection of the wisdom that tends to come with age does not seem to have served that community well.

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  23. Longknives (4,690 comments) says:

    “Would she have done that if the pedo was Maori ?”

    He was- One of his kiddie grooming activities was his ‘Kapa Haka’ group…..

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  24. Steve (North Shore) (4,546 comments) says:

    “Would she have done that if the pedo was Maori ?”

    He was- One of his kiddie grooming activities was his ‘Kapa Haka’ group…..

    ________________________________
    Another milky bar

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  25. OneTrack (3,020 comments) says:

    “Of course it is better for a kid to go to an aunt/uncle or a cousin, than a stranger”

    You gotta link for that outrageous assertion, made without any supporting argument whatsoever. No, didn’t think so.

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  26. big bruv (13,720 comments) says:

    “Having said that, I’d love Iwi to take a more prominent role in helping prevent child abuse”

    Well, how about they stop bloody killing their own Kids. That would be a great place to start.

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  27. OneTrack (3,020 comments) says:

    “He was- One of his kiddie grooming activities was his ‘Kapa Haka’ group…..”

    I think it is possible for white, honky, mofos to teach Kapa-Haka.

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  28. edhunter (538 comments) says:

    The problem being most urban Maori are to say the least disenfranchised from their iwi, if they can even identify themselves to one iwi.
    Strange but I’d rather Destiny Church be involved in placing these children than Iwi.

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  29. doggone7 (777 comments) says:

    wreck1080: So, in a community like that, where do you move kids?

    In the whole NZ community where do you move kids? There is much wailing about kids needing to be moved out of their homes away from the terrible things happening there. There are howls of outrage when kids are moved into places which are as bad as the ones they’ve been moved out of. There are calls to move children right away from the extended family when that is dysfunctional. Where do they go?

    How many of those doing most moaning take an abused waif into their home to bring up? Fair enough that they say it is not their responsibility to bring up someone else’s kid. Is their only responsibility to tell others that it is the responsibility of everyone else?

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  30. Jinky (184 comments) says:

    Absolutely right doggone7. There are fewer and fewer people willing to be CYFS approved caregivers. At the last carers support meeting we attended all the couples there had decided the current placements/kids were their last. No new carers have joined the group this year.

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