Saturday, February 13, 2016

"...their problems are therefore those of the Maori people..."

It has been clear for a long time that a disproportionate number of children who are reported to CYF, have a substantiated finding of abuse or neglect against their parent or caregiver, or end up in state care are Maori. But I haven't seen the statistics put in these terms before (or if I have I've forgotten):

 "...35 per cent of all Maori children are notified to CYF before age 5, compared with 11 per cent of non-Maori children."
This is from the 'interim' report by the group led by Paula Rebstock tasked with examining CYF.

Statistics relating to ethnicity are increasingly redundant as more and more New Zealand-born children report (or their parents report) more than 1, 2, or even 3 ethnicities.

The above finding is particularly intriguing because many Maori children who  also have Pacific Island, NZ European, Asian, etc parentage will be counted as Maori because of the hierarchical system government uses.

From a Families Commission report 2004:

"...if a person reports more than one ethnic identity they will be counted only once, in the following priority order: Māori, Pacific peoples, Asian, other, European." 

(Yes, some reporting  systems take account of multiple ethnicities leading to annoying and meaningless totals for the purposes of research, and  reliance on self-identification produces Maori as the overriding ethnicity anyway.) 

I came across a passage (not on-line) the other day that crystallizes the problem.

The children of a mixed marriage are also usually very readily accepted by their grandparents, both Maori and Pakeha. In the wider community such children are nearly always looked on as Maori if their ancestry is at all obvious (the term ‘half-caste’ seems to be used less now than formerly), and their problems are therefore those of the Maori people… Harre 1968

I have been reading up on mixed marriages/partnerships and the rate of partnering between Maori and non-Maori is very high especially when compared to other races in other countries.

Personally I think it's a good thing but when it comes to problems with offspring it has to be said the contributing ethnicity who is not Maori gets of scot free when it comes to the reporting of ethnic contribution.

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