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No excuses for violence

Georgina te Heuheu
National Maori Affairs Spokesperson

24 August 2000

No excuses for violence

"We must not accept excuses for violence against women and children, Maori or otherwise" Georgina te Heuheu, National MP said today.

Mrs te Heuheu was commenting on the fallout from the release of the Children's Commissioner's report into the death of James Whakaruru, and recent comments by Merepeka Raukawa Tait, chief executive of Women's Refuge. "None of us are happy with the ongoing violence against Maori children, but comments which link the violence to colonisation, do little to help our families", Mrs te Heuheu said. "The fact that by far the majority of Maori parents are good parents, makes this sort of argument irrelevant to the debate. The last thing our children need is more excuses for adults to bash them.

Mrs te Heuheu supported the Commissioner for Children speaking out strongly on behalf of Maori children. "Along with people like Merepeka, he shows his deep concern for what is happening, and that is important, because this is a crisis".

"Ultimately, the solutions lie within ourselves, our families, whanau and communities, but solutions will only come with the support of everyone who cares enough to help turn this around. To build strong Maori communities, it's important we face up to, and take ownership of the current crisis and the statistics which underpin it. There is no excuse for violence towards our children and mokopuna."

Mrs te Heuheu said she is pleased that the Maori Affairs Ministers agreed to her calls for a meeting of Maori Members of Parliament across party lines. That meeting occurred recently and explored the issues and ways to promote solutions within Maori communities.

"I'm also pleased to hear of some new initiatives being developed by Maori themselves in their own communities. We need to look at root causes. But finding excuses won't get us there," Mrs te Heuheu said.

Ends


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