Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Colonisation key driver in men's violence

Released last month from the Family Violence Death Review Committee.

Sixth report | Te Pūrongo tuaono Men who use violence |
 Ngā tāne ka whakamahi i te whakarekereke

The report looks at 97 men, from between 2009 and 2017, whose family violence resulted in death (not theirs).

I hoped for some real insight and recommendations. But my anticipation was short-lived.

The report very quickly draws attention to, " ... the historical and ongoing impact of colonisation, which includes unchecked privilege, and how colonisation contributes to chronic and complex trauma for both individuals and communities. We believe these factors are central reasons why Māori and non-Māori experience violence across generations. Addressing these issues requires an honest partnership between the Crown and Māori, leading to decolonised services and measures that address structural racism."

More specifically,

Colonisation and Aotearoa New Zealand society 

Different groups in a population will always vary in their behaviour and episodes of violence. However, here we raise questions about cultural norms and how society responds to them. Indigenous researchers both in Aotearoa New Zealand and internationally see a patriarchal social structure as removing the natural supports and caring that people had for each other before this structure was imposed. Mikaere, for example, describes how Māori before colonial times understood the roles of men and women as part of the interrelationship or whakawhanaungatanga of all living things.  
Both men and women were essential parts in the collective whole, both formed part of the whakapapa that linked Maori people back to the beginning of the world, and women in particular played a key role in linking the past with the present and the future. 

It goes on to describe how colonisers came here with notions of men owning women and children. That may be but they didn't practice slavery. And Chiefs must have 'owned' their highly born daughters because they gave them away in marriage to useful traders.

Yes there was tension between the Maori and Pakeha cultural beliefs and behaviours but some of us have moved on. For instance, women fought to be free as individuals, to be educated and independent. New Zealand has evolved and this whole backward-looking narrative about the superiority or otherwise of anthropological worldviews of 200 years ago is pointless.

But the academic authors do not think so. Thus their recommendation  to stop the violence is decolonising institutions and services, which means infusing those institutions and services with Maori tikanga and Maori worldviews (already rife in the public service). Ending institutional racism and properly honouring the treaty.

This will stop men murdering, including the 64 who are European, Asian, African, Pacific and other ethnicity.


In my humble opinion the only offenders who truly reform are those who look in the mirror, see themselves for what they are and resolve to change. If they can't achieve this, they need to be locked up to keep innocent people safe.

But there I go with my patriarchal unchecked-privileged point of view...

Monday, May 11, 2020

Excuse me. We'll take that prize.

Here's an interesting chart from Jim Rose's blog.

I don't know why there is "no data" for NZ. From the 2013 census - within the period they analysed -from NZ Stat chart,  "Number of dependent children and total number of children, for one parent families in occupied private dwellings, 2001, 2006, and 2013 Censuses (RC, TA)"  in 2013 =  201,804 out of a total of 671,287. 30 percent. Higher than any other number on the graphic above.

But that would have spoiled the title.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Censorship by omission: importance of family

A reader sent this interview to me. I have selected the passages that particularly interest me:

On April 14, 2020 Gonzalo Schwarz, President and CEO of the Archbridge Institute, conducted the following interview with Dr. James J. Heckman. Dr. Heckman is the Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor in Economics and the Director of the Center for the Economics of Human Development at the University of Chicago. 

S: Without going into detail, what do you think are the main barriers to income or social mobility? (Could be micro level such as agency and family structure or on a bigger scale in terms of labor markets, entrepreneurship, etc.)

H: The main barriers to developing effective policies for income and social mobility is fear of honest engagement in the changes in the American family and the consequences it has wrought. It is politically incorrect to express the truth and go to the source of problems. Public discourse, such as it is, cannot speak honestly about matters of culture, race, and gender. Powerful censorship is at play across the entire society.

S: In your research you discuss the key importance of family structure for social mobility. Why do you feel so strongly about this issue?

H: The family is the source of life and growth. Families build values, encourage (or discourage) their children in school and out. Families — far more than schools — create or inhibit life opportunities. A huge body of evidence shows the powerful role of families in shaping the lives of their children. Dysfunctional families produce dysfunctional children. Schools can only partially compensate for the damage done to the children by dysfunctional families.

ME: Despite the "censorship at play"  American academics are still far more open and prone to research families objectively. NZ just doesn't go there. For instance NZ has little interest in the relationship status between couples with dependent children and how that impacts (but I am working on how to correct that.)

A 'tool buy-back scheme'

Son has been made redundant two years into a building apprenticeship. Employer laying off over a third of their workforce.

Said to me this morning, "Do you think the government should run a 'tool buy-back scheme' for apprentice builders? The tools in my boot are worth more than my car!"