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$3m campaign needed to fix Maori families

$3m campaign needed to fix Maori families

Maori child advocacy organisation Ririki is proposing a $3m public education campaign to address parenting issues in Maori whanau.

“Rates of family violence for Maori are high and we will be asking the government to invest in communications to change attitudes and behaviours in our families,” Executive Director Anton Blank said today.

Ririki will advocate the proposal when the organisation makes an oral submission to the Maori Affairs Select Committee Inquiry into the Social Determinants of Wellbeing for Maori Children at Hoani Waititi Marae in Auckland on Wednesday.

“We know that social marketing campaigns have been very successful in other areas like road safety and smoking. Maori smoking rates are now trending well below 50% after more than twenty years of government investment in Smoke-free communications and support services.

“We believe the same approach should be applied to Maori parenting. Our whanau need new ways of parenting without violence. We want to precipitate major change and this requires long-term investment over two to three generations.”

Ririki has developed a Maori parenting model Tikanga Whakatipu Ririki which uses traditional Maori beliefs to change parenting behaviours. Research showed that historically Maori were not violent towards children. Insulting and hitting children was banned because the chiefs believed that this broke the spirits of the children.

“Research of a Tikanga Whakatipu Ririki pilot in Ngaruawahia and Enderly showed that families going through the programme responded to the Maori values that underpin it, and integrated new behaviours into their parenting.

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“The communications campaign we are proposing must point our people back to these values. From our experience Maori whanau will buy into a programme when they see that Maori culture and values are present.” Anton Blank said.

800 community workers around the country have now been trained in Tikanga Whakatipu Ririki and are using the model in their work with whanau.

Chair of Ririki Dr Kuni Jenkins welcomes the Maori Affairs Select Committee Inquiry into the Social Determinants of Wellbeing for Maori Children.

“Our children experience hardship at two to three times the rate of other children, so this Maori Affairs Select Committee Inquiry is a critical platform for making policy changes in favour of Maori children,” Dr Jenkins said.

The Innocenti report on child poverty published by UNICEF last week showed that 30 million children across 35 developed countries are living below the poverty line. The report also argued that poverty is not an inevitable situation but is susceptible to government policy.

“The government needs to partner with Maori to develop strategies to address these issues. In the long term we need to lift Maori whanau out of poverty. This means lifting the levels of Maori educational achievement, and getting Maori into employment.”

Last year Every Child Counts published a report on Maori and Pasifika child poverty He Ara Hou – The Pathway Forward. More than half of the 230,000 New Zealand children living in poverty are Maori and Pasifika, and as a result they score poorly on all measures compared to other groups of children.

“Maori education is successfully lifting Maori educational achievement however. This is further evidence of the need to invest in kaupapa Maori solutions to child poverty.” Dr Jenkins said.

Public education campaign
Maori parenting

How would $3m be spent?

Television and radio advertising $2,000,000
Community education $350,000
Stakeholder management $300,000
Parenting resources (information for whanau) $200,000
Web $70,000
Social Media strategy (Facebook and Twitter) $80,000
TOTAL $3,000.000

Ririki’s communications strategy

Since its establishment in 2008 Ririki has embraced the social marketing model, and has a number of communications initiatives underway.

Tikanga Whakatipu Ririki

This remarkable parenting model emerged out of a literature review of pre-colonial Maori parenting practices. The model blends Maori tradition with contemporary parenting techniques.

More than 800 community workers around the country have attended Tikanga Whakatipu Ririki training, which is being rolled out to Maori whanau in communities all over New Zealand. As well as providing initial train the trainer workshops for community groups, we meet with workers to check progress and deal with emergent issues.

The model is accompanied by resources:

• Posters, pamphlets and manuals for whanau;
• Manuals for community workers.

Ririki Radio Show

Our radio show, which is played by iwi stations around the country, focuses on Tikanga Whakatipu Ririki and explains the model for whanau in easy-to-understand bites. The show also features interviews with kaumatua and Maori experts talking about parenting.

Ririki Television Show

We are working with our ambassadors Awen and Natasha Guttenbeil to develop our Ririki radio show into a proposal for television. A magazine format is proposed to carry the message of Tikanga Whakatipu Ririki to even more Maori whanau.


Celebrity endorsement and support
Ririki Ambassadors – Awen and Natasha Guttenbeil

Awen and Natasha Guttenbeil are Ririki’s ambassadors, and host our parenting show for iwi radio.

Awen – a former Warriors and Kiwis star and now a television sports broadcaster – says he is motivated to be part of Ririki in part because of his personal experience of family violence.

“As a child I was around it and exposed to it,” Awen said.

“I remember how terrifying it was and I still battle with it. It scarred me deeply – I still remember those feelings from when I was three or four.

"I’m happy to speak up about my own experiences because I think it’s important for men to get more involved in these issues. I'm convinced that raising kids in a non-violent home is a huge part of successful parenting.

I want Tash and me to model a good relationship for our daughter and our son. I can parent them from a position of strength because I've never hit them or their mother."

Natasha Guttenbeil says that she and her husband were deeply saddened by some of the terrible cases of child abuse being reported in Aotearoa, and were looking for a practical way to help when the opportunity to work with Ririki came up. The couple are delighted to be working together on a kaupapa that they are both passionate about.

“There's nothing more important to both me and Awen than our family; our kids are easily our number one priority," she said.

“When we decided to have children, we made a concious decision to never hit them. By making our beliefs clear and hosting the radio show we realise we are being looked at as role models and we take that seriously. We’d never claim to be perfect parents, but we have made a commitment to keep working at it.

“Parenting really is hard work. Violence-free parenting means that you have to build trusting relationships with your children. It takes a lot of time and patience but the rewards are huge. The Ririki model gives a simple and practical framework for parenting as well as you can and – most importantly – without resorting to violence.”


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