Friday, January 29, 2021

GUEST POST: Oranga Tamariki - Perceptions of Blame

I parted ways with my social work Master’s with the last re-write of CYF/OT legislation. Whanau placement children have demonstrably worse outcomes than general placement children because there is a problem with inter-generational dysfunction (what is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly). So, if recent developments are REALLY about what is best for the children, and not a massive power trip the likes of Turia and Raukawa-Tait are embarking on, then it should be as Henare O'Keefe says, that " doesn't matter if foster parents are black, brown, white, purple or green, they need to have the love for children and a passion in their future".

No one alive today has been colonised or has colonised anyone. Every single person has a choice. Both Maori and Pakeha choose to become addicts, or abuse/neglect their kids. (Remember Maori campaigned to be allowed access to booze in 1947 - now there's some campaigning to prevent Maori access to booze, South Auckland Maori Warden David Ratu and a women in Hawkes Bay). But drug and alcohol addiction are still apparently Pakeha's fault.

I am told constantly that “Māori were never asked about Pākeha intervention, it was decided by Pākeha that they would intervene anyway." As if it’s ok with them that standards for Maori children should be lower than other children. No. All children deserve love, care and a decent standard of living (with no abuse) and if families aren’t providing that there needs to be intervention.

Maori have been part of government decisions for a very long time. To pretend decisions made by  CYF, and now OT, excluded them is disingenuous. It's similar to the claim that Pakeha unilaterally banned the speaking of Maori in early schools when a 1866/67 petition to parliament of 337 Maori elders asked that "... there should not be a word of Maori allowed to be spoken in the school."

I am also told child abuse didn’t exist before Pakeha arrival; that Maori children were stolen to be slaves, and this is where abuse was learnt. Such a one-eyed view. Shall we discuss the Chatham Island Moriori and inter-tribal slavery and brutality? No, because that is in the past and as far as I am concerned has no bearing on how anyone chooses to raise their family today. 

In any case, if this claim is the reason why Maori are so high in OT's stats, how come most Maori can and do look after their kids beautifully?

Guest Post by 'The Slippery Slope'

Non-Maori need not apply

This is disappointing.

For many years I've created and exhibited portraits of 'tupuna'. I've also painted many Maori and their children as gifts and given tupuna portraits to Maori people who felt or had a connection to them.

One of the co-organisers of this new competition, the inaugural Kiingi Tuheitia Portraiture Award is the National Portrait gallery whose exhibitions I've previously participated in.

It's disappointing to be barred from entry to this event because I don't have whakapapa links to any tupuna. 

Emerging Māori artists, with whakapapa connections to the depicted tūpuna, can submit either an artwork created in the past two years or an entirely new piece of work.

I might also be challenged on the grounds of 'emerging' but that's a very subjective term in the art world. It may mean emerging in a new medium. But I could live with being banned on those grounds.

However there are hundreds of emerging non-Maori artists who would relish the opportunity to showcase their work but will be shut out  despite the claim that,

"This award is not just for Māori but for New Zealanders, after a turbulent 2020, now more than ever we are looking at ourselves and realise the importance of generating our own projects from home."

It's not for "New Zealanders" to partipate in. And it promotes a sense that only Maori with whakapapa links should be painting Maori. Good job Goldie and Lindauer didn't get that message.

Oh well. It's a free world (hah) and organisers can choose to give a platform to who they want to.

But seen as this is my blog here's a personal offering from my 'cloak series':


Wednesday, January 27, 2021

On John Banks and censorship

I listen to John Banks but wasn't tuned in yesterday when he made comments in response to a caller which were being recorded by an outraged and offended listener using TicTok. The caller described Maori as a stone-age people who are genetically predisposed to crime, alcohol and educational under-achievement. Banks made a typical Banksie response for theatrical effect. It came across as agreement. 

I don't know if Banks is racist. He says he is not.

In an attempt to ascertain how Banks might have responded (much easier in hindsight than heat of the moment) I've put myself in his shoes. I'd have interrupted the caller. I'd have a couple of questions. Why does the condition of a race 2-300 years ago have relevance today? The Pakeha whalers and sealers were a reprehensible bunch sexually abusing Maori children. Getting perpetually drunk and nasty when they came off their sea stints. An uncivilized race of people living in New Zealand at that time. 

But why does that matter now?

Maori and Pakeha in 2021 are generations removed. We are all human first. We are each individuals. The caller's blanket statement is illogical - never mind insulting and hurtful (especially to those who want to be insulted and hurt.)

BUT I am really worried where this new level of censorship is taking us.

By 1/ Magic Talk removing the host and 2/ advertisers pulling sponsorship and 3/ Cricket NZ suspending association and 4/ a non-listener describing Magic as "endless stream of racism, ignorance and general bigotry" (which I will personally attest is untrue), people with ideas like the caller will only get disaffected and driven underground in search of similarly disaffected types.

It is far preferable that they say their piece and hear the challenges. That they get ridiculed or lambasted by listeners who disagree. Which apparently did happen after the call.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Reminding ourselves why Oranga Tamariki removes babies

 According to analysis of actual cases Oranga Tamariki reports:

Typically, there were multiple factors associated with a decision toseek interim custody of a newborn baby. The most common reasons were:

• Substance abuse, particularly synthetic cannabis, methamphetamine or alcohol addiction, often coupled with mental health issues associated with that addiction,including psychosis and suicidal behaviour.

• Partner substance abuse and family violence. This can entail unpredictable acts of violence associated with substance abuse and a history of previous protection orders against the partner. Babies are particularly at risk in this context as they are often close by when the partner becomes violent, have no independent means of escaping the violent situation, and are highly vulnerable to serious physical harm from any assault.

Other factors included:

• Medical neglect, including severe lack of preparation for, and engagement with, the newborn baby.

• Parental difficulties in being able to recognise and respond to the needs of a newborn, including signs of distress.

To prevaricate over whether interventions should or should not occur based on political considerations is an act of abuse in and of itself.

Now there is a clear push for two different systems. Lady Moxon, instrumental to the resignation of Grainne Moss, says:

"The end goal is that we have our own Mokopuna Authority - I'm talking about Māori for Māori by Māori - whereby we're looking after our own children, wherever they are."

All Maori children have mixed ethnicity. But before they are Maori/Pakeha/Pacific/Asian/other they are tiny human beings. 

Tiny human beings whose best interest the grown-ups should be able to agree upon free from political agendas.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

"A beacon of kindness"

This is a bit over the top don't you think?

Ex Labour Minister Steve Maharey writes today:

"Ardern has gone on to become a world figure – a beacon of kindness in an otherwise very nasty world."

Does he mean all other world leaders are cruel? Only New Zealand has a kind leader?

What does he actually mean by a "very nasty world"? It's probably as peaceful as it has ever been. It's certainly more prosperous than it's ever been. 

Hell it's not perfect but in general most countries are seeing generational improvement in living standards; longer life expectancy, lower infant mortality, better sanitation, and better infrastructure.

I don't know where this "otherwise very nasty world" is.