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Maori Party Position on Repeal of Section 59

Statement : Maori Party Position on Repeal of Section 59

Dr Pita Sharples; Tariana Turia; Te Ururoa Flavell; Hone Harawira

Tuesday 13 March 2007

Motivation: He Taonga, He Mokopuna

We have been asked to support a Bill, as amended by the select Committee. A Bill which is motivated by the need to protect children.

We believe that Parliament has an important role in dispelling the illusion that violence is normal and acceptable. We believe that statements of aspiration are important in encouraging whanau to create and maintain violence-free homes. We welcome the initiative of Sue Bradford in this regard.

In Maori society, the children are a treasure, pine pine te kura. Children had a very special status in society. The idea of any physical violence against children was abhorrent. From a Maori world view, the protection, care and support of our children and indeed our women were uppermost in our thinking. We know this because it is written in song and proverbs which includes constant references to safeguarding our next generations.

Many of our traditional oriori were composed to inspire support and nurturing of a child in the history and traditions of its peoples – none of these refer to violence as a means of management. In fact failure to protect children from harm meant repercussions for the parents, rather than children themselves.

Setting the stage for the future : Bold leadership is required

This Bill anticipates a balance in the expression of our nine kaupapa, such is its comprehensive importance to our 21500 members. These kaupapa are enunciated in our literature, waiata, whakatauaki. We would like Aotearoa to continue to develop a culture which allows children to explore their world without fear of violence or being hurt. We must all take responsibility for leadership in our whanau, hapu and iwi; to restore the rights and obligations of collective care.

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We welcome the message in the commentary of the Select Committee that if enacted, appropriate agencies should conduct public awareness campaigns about the effect of changes to section 59, and alternatives to physical discipline.

A hit is a hit

We must send out strong and brave messages to the nation that any form of violence is violence - and is unacceptable. In the end a hit is a hit, and under current adult law this is assault. Common sense says same standards should apply.

If we care about our children….

If we care about our children, the protection of them from any form of violence is a priority.


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