Kid Killing in Paradise Lost Is a government sponsored cultural renaissance part of the problem?

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The
scenic beauty of New Zealand is unparalleled. A flick through the
travel brochures by foreigners leaves them with the impression that
we live in heaven on earth. Don't believe it. For many of our women
and children their existence is hell on earth. They are the victims
of family violence and sexual abuse that has reached epidemic proportions.

Our
small country, just under four million people, is shaken month by
month by the killing of a child who, over a long period, was subjected
to unbelievable cruelty perpetrated by either a man or woman in
a dysfunctional relationship. Very often children are killed despite
prior intervention by official welfare agencies. Refuges cannot
cope with the ever-increasing number of women desperate to take
themselves and their children away from violent men.

"Indigenous"
Maori men feature disproportionately, and by a wide margin, in the
statistics of violent crime. Almost half the jail population consists
of these men who are from a minority group representing around twelve
per cent of the population.

Maori
radicals and their white left-liberal apologists tell us that the
shameful figures are due to "post-colonial traumatic stress
disorder" resulting from colonization and the white man's rotten
system based on subjugation and poverty. This garbage is used to
hide failed left-liberal policies. It runs counter to their socialist
ideals to acknowledge the damage done by of a lack of family values,
bad attitudes towards education, years of welfare dependency, racist
affirmative action and other special treatment programs, the destruction
of initiative and enterprise, and the discouragement of personal
responsibility.

Mainstream
Maori leadership adopts a head in the sand approach to male violence,
pretending that the problem does not exist, just like a hopeless
alcoholic in denial, and we know where that leads.

As
a nation we are now reaping what we sowed. Politicians decided to
pander to a stone-age culture and encouraged its renaissance at
the expense of values and inheritances that built a hitherto strong
and vibrant country. The result; national pride and identity are
in limbo as soured race relations tear the country apart. The flag
is hardly flown anymore. Patriotism is almost non-existent, its
threadbare remnants acknowledged by the performing of a male-oriented
Maori dance called the "haka", the invention of a cannibal
chief.

"The
threatening body stances of the haka, the fearsome intent of the
facial expressions, the aggressive gestures of the fists, accompanied
by shouted verbal commands, all form part of a violent act and physical
confrontation with an intent to frighten and intimidate an adversary".
These are not my words but those of a Maori writer who spoke out
recently, sickened by the violence towards children.

The
bare-chested war-like warrior image is promoted to the rest of the
world, mainly by the government, as a vital part of Maori culture.
Our courageous Maori writer asked,"Who is brave enough to
state that the aggression, the violence, the threats, the physical
intimidation and the nature and the purpose of the haka do not play
a significant role in the way we harm and disrespect our children?"

Little
tots at Maori language schools are taught the haka, as are boys
in government schools. Whenever our United Nations sponsored peacekeeping
soldiers in East Timor are shown on government television they are
seen, incongruously, performing the war-like haka. What message
does this send to the "antagonists" on the other side
of the fence? Is it in the true spirit of United Nations peacekeeping?
National sporting teams take this stuff off shore. Maoris perform
the haka in Parliament when they get a favorable decision. If aggrieved
by a Court decision they do the haka. It has been politicized and
at times of protest is no more than an exercise in race baiting.

An
integral part of the warrior image is the wielding of a long hardwood
club designed to kill, called the "taiaha". It's unbelievable,
but our softheaded prison service officials have taken "taiaha"
training in to jails. As their psychobabble tells us, it is a method
"by which Maori offenders are introduced to the cultural
values which underpin the behavioral and attitudinal changes that
are necessary to reduce re-offending by Maoris". What does
this program do for anger management in the ill-educated and the
ill-disciplined?.

There
are signs that the tourism industry is backing away from promoting
the warrior image because it is felt it is not as marketable as
first thought.

When
foreign diplomats present their credentials to the Head of State
they are confronted by a "taiaha" wielding bare-chested
Maori warrior with ferocious facial expressions, heightened by protruding
glaring eyes, a protruding tongue and the uttering of a weird challenging
cry. Many of my countrymen find this particular cultural intrusion
offensive and against the spirit of diplomacy.

If
George Bush wins the presidential election he will undoubtedly replace
Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun with one of his own. The new ambassador
would do this country a service by refusing to take part in the
warrior challenge when presenting his credentials. Furthermore,
the new ambassador should lobby the entire diplomatic corps to do
likewise.

This
international action against New Zealand could be all that is needed
for our government to stop glorifying violence in the name of culture.
That would be a positive step in the campaign to stop the violence
against defenseless children.

September
2, 2000

Colin
Robertson
, a former officer of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand,
is a businessman and writer. He is working on a book on New Zealand’s
race relations industry.

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