Sunday, May 29, 2011

we can handle the truth

I like this new Māori parenting program, due to be released on Thursday, by The Office of the Children's Commissioner. It is based upon research which shows that abuse of children was shunned by Māori and arose from Missionaries and colonisation.

Prior to Europeans arriving, children were considered gifts from the gods and whanau shunned child abuse.The researchers suggested abuse arose only after Maori were introduced to corporal punishment in missionary-run classrooms
It is so good to see the myths and slurs on Māori getting dealt to by research. Te Kahui Mana Ririki, the child advocacy group, commissioned the research and Chair Dr Hone Kaa states
"It will serve to demonstrate to Maori they don't have to believe they're inherently violent," he said.
Maori children were taught by Europeans that bad behaviour should be punished by physical violence, he said. This steered away from the traditional idea children were tapu and discipline should be avoided because it tamed the child's spirit.
They researched the treatment of children using oral histories, poems, and European observations and what did they find?
Researchers found children were treated with loving care and indulged. "The father was devotedly fond of his children and they were his pride and delight," the report found. "Children would entwine themselves around their father's neck for an entire day, asleep or awake, as a constant companion." This instilled love, security, and confidence into Maori children.
Lead researcher Margaret Mountain Harte hoped the findings could be introduced in school curriculums to educate Maori teens. "It's empowering for me. The whole warrior culture was balanced by the nurturing one," she said.

Yes we need to take back the ownership of us, we need to keep decolonising our own heads because they have forcefed the myths into us. This isn't a rosy picture of hippie Māori - the reality of the old times are known and people were killed and degraded for all sorts of reasons, including children. But that is irrelevant to the fact that children were the future and that future was protected seriously. Of course there are those who don't buy this and that includes Paul Moon
Maori history professor Paul Moon, of Auckland University of Technology, dismissed the idea abuse began after the Europeans came. "The proposition that missionaries introduced violence, it's one of those allegations that entered the historical bloodstream and once it's in that bloodstream, it's hard to get out. I would want to see evidence."
Hey paul isn't that research and evidence included in the report coming out on Thursday?
Moon said the report's reliance on oral histories and lullabies also raised doubts over its reliability
Oh well, I am sure I saw that the 'great european historical record' has also been researched so hopefully that will allay moons fears. Meanwhile his broken record will keep revolving.

The abuse of children is intolerable and must be sorted. Race or ethnicity has nothing to do with whether a person will abuse a child but poverty does, and stress does. This research can rebalance the lies and disinformation put out to suppress Māori aspirations. This research can be used to reeducate those at risk of abusing, those who do not have the mana and knowledge and are already abusing. This program will make a difference for our children.

Does it work?
Te Kahui Mana Ririki has reported a reduction in child abuse after running workshops based on its findings.
Great initative and some awesome research - thank you.


Ruahines said...

Kia ora Marty,
And along with Moon's comments was an article by Brash responding to a very articulate and well thought piece written by a young student the week before. Brash, more or less, was saying that if only all you Maori folk would accept colonization rules and be good little busy bees all would be well. And the even scarier thing is so many people accept that as completely rational thought. The fight has only just begun. Kia kaha.

Marty Mars said...

Kia ora Robb,

Yes I read Brash's reply and it didn't impress me either. He is very much of the camp - let's work together and do it my way. As you say mate - the fight has only just begun.