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Maori Men AndThe Wellbeing Of Future Generations

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NAT-COLLECTIVE OF INDEPENDENT WOMEN'S REFUGES

Maori Men Compromise The Wellbeing Of Future Generations

Maori men have compromised future generations of Maori claims the Chief Executive of the National Collective of Independent Women's Refuges, Merepeka Raukawa-Tait.

Responding to the main reason cited by various tribal leaders as to why women must not speak on Marae, (women are te whare tangata, the nurturing place of future generations), Raukawa-Tait has taken the leaders to task saying that their argument is historical and doesn't stack up today.

She says the current debate on whether or not the Prime Minister should speak at Waitangi is essentially a Ngapuhi issue, but now other tribes are stating their views as well, and all are saying that it is primarily because women are seen as te whare tangata.

It is Maori men that have caused that argument to become irrelevant today slams Raukawa-Tait.

Tribal leaders have the gall to say that women, as te whare tangata, must never be put in jeopardy. They say that when speaking on the Marae or more particularly the Marae Atea, the area in front of the meeting house, conflict, argument and debate can erupt and this area could, even today, be dangerous for women. Raukawa-Tait points out that today it is in her own home where te whare tangata is no longer safe.

Raukawa-Tait says Women's Refuge works each year with thousands of Maori women throughout New Zealand and these women live lives of fear. They are victims of domestic violence.

They are bashed, head butted, raped, thrown against the wall and kicked in the stomach, often while pregnant.

In most instances this all takes place in front of her children. Women's Refuge research also shows that Maori women are most at risk in their own tribal area, reports Raukawa- Tait.

Men may continue to prohibit women from speaking on the Marae Atea for as long as they can said Raukawa-Tait, but to use te whare tangata as the reason is merely shallow rhetoric.

Future generations of Maori have already been compromised by the brutal behaviour of men towards women. Raukawa-Tait blames insipid, gutless male leadership that has largely supported these men.

Leadership that has failed to ensure that the notion of te whare tangata is applicable both on and off the Marae Atea she said. Maori women have become fair game because men have reneged on their part of the bargain, which was to uphold and carry out their protective obligations to women and future generations she stated.

ENDS....

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