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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, December 08, 2008

Utu has role in abuse strategy

A former Department of Social Welfare officer is calling for old tribal methods to fight child abuse among Maori.

Hohepa Mutu who has a life time of experience as a social worker says the type of programmes Maori had before the advent of colonialism are needed today.

“These traditions, some of them would look like utu for example, some would think that’s callous because it’s revenge but what they fail to realise is the whole concept of utu and muru taua which is exactly the same but it’s like a confiscation, and in actual fact concepts of emotions. They include love, they include care, but they also include the prospect of retribution,” Mr Mutu says.

He says the Crown has been dominated by Pakeha people who say they know better than Maori people for Maori and Maori are starting to believe this is true.


The chairman of the Waitangi Marae wants less focus on Wellington at next years Waitangi day celebrations.

Kingi Taurua says it is time for a change, and he wants less talk about politics.

February the 6th activities in the small northern settlement have often been used as a PR opportunity for politicians and for Maori keen to show their displeasure at the Crowns ongoing breaches of the treaty signed in 1840.

Mr Taurua says next year’s Waitangi Day should be less about protests and politics, and more about people.

“I want to move away from politics. I want to look at talent quests and that kind of thing, making it a more joyful kind of day where we can commemorate and celebrate Waitangi in a different way where previously it’s always been politics, politic, politics. I want to move away from that,” Mr Taurua says.

Meanwhile Prime Minister John key has conmfirmed he will arrive at Waitangi on February the 5th.


There will be plenty of Maori touch players nursing tender limbs today after two days of intense competition at the annual Maori touch nationals which wrapped up at Hopuhopu yesterday.

Richard Anderson, the tournament coordinator, says it was a chance for players with their eyes places in teams for the World Indigenous Touch Tournament being held in Aotearoa early in 2010.

“The percentage of Maori representation in the New Zealand national teams is very high. It’s just a sport that Maori can express themselves and it just seems to be a natural sport for them and it’s great to see,” Mr Anderson says.

The open men’s title was won by Te Aupouri, Rutaia took out the womens’ section, with Tainui winning both the men’s and women’s under 21 titles.


Next year Waitangi Day on February 6 will have a new perspective if the chairman of Waitangi marae has his way.

In the recent years celebrations at Waitangi have been politically orientated providing an opportunity for protest.

However Kingi Tauroa says he'd like to see things done differently this year.

“Up home it’s always been a political kind of area. People are interested in politics. I think Maori, Ngapuhi, is very interested in politics. At Waitangi Day previously, always something to do with politics. And so I thought this year, I’ve not said anything yet, but it’s my thought that I am going to try to bring a new perspective to Waitangi Day rather than politics. I want to enjoy the day, have something like a talent quest, singing, that kind of thing,” Mr Taurua says.


A longtime Maori social worker is calling for a return to pre-European ways such as utu to overcome crimes of child abuse among Maori.

Hohepa Mutu who spent many years as a Department of Social Welfare social worker, including working with the late John Rangihau on Puao Te Ata Tu to combat racism in the DSW, says while some may look at utu as simply callous revenge it involves far more than this including love, fear, retribution and reciprocity.

“And the only way our people used to do was use the traditions they had but they are precluded from doing this because the law thinks otherwise. And if you look at what has always happens, and this was one of the things that was highlighted for me as an administrator when trying to promote and advance Puao Te Ata Tu, the Crown, which was dominated by Pakeha people, said they knew better than what Maori did for Maori,” Mr Mutu says.

He says it is unfortunate Maori are starting to believe this is true rather than looking at the beautiful traditions they have been left.


Legendary Maori entertainer Sir Howard Morrison says egotism reeks in Maoridom with Maori who find themselves in the limelight are often subjected to harsh criticism from their own.

Speaking following positive reviews of a programme on his life on Maori Televison last night Sir Howard says when he first started his career with the Howard Morrison Quartet the only important thing was the music.

However he says he came in for a lot of criticism from other Maori who labeled him as whakahehe or egotistical.

“Egotism reeks in Maoridom. They don’t accept they have it. Some of the oratorical people who get up at hui, they just love the sound of their voice, they can’t stop. And then there’s the people who have an opinion on everything, and they’ve done nothing,” Sir Howard says.


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