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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, March 16, 2009

Speaking with fists wrong approach to bullies

Children’s Commissioner Cindy Kiro says Maori need to stop teaching their kids to speak with their fists when dealing with bullying at school.

Dr Kiro says whanau often tell their kids to physically stand up for themselves, which can make matters worse.

“Most children who bully have been the recipients of bullying themselves. Now if they’re not taught how to behave and how to resolve differences and conflict at this point, what are they going to do for the rest of their lives? How will they resolve future problems? And if the answer to that is ‘I’m going to beat you up so you don’t get a hold of me again,’ what is the lesson they are learning? It is basically that the only resolution is at the end of a fist. That is the wrong message. That’s not the message we want out there,” Dr Kiro says.

Whanau need to encourage rangatahi to speak up for themselves via their teachers and peers.

A report released at a school violence summit in Wellington today, showed bullying was a growing problem in all schools.

Dr Kiro says schools in Aotearoa are self managed which makes regulating a consistent process for bullying difficult but hoped this may be addressed at the summit.


Despite it being the leading cause of preventable deaths in New Zealand, Maori parents are underestimating the risks smoking pose for their children’s health, according to the director of Auckland’s Tobacco Control and Research Centre.

Marewa Glover says the results from the Keeping Kids Safe intervention being trialed in South Auckland to reduce the number of parents and children smoking, showed Maori, Pacific and Pakeha parents rated smoking fifth on a list of eight public health concerns, behind methamphetamine, bullying and violence, marijuana and alcohol.

She says parents did not realise tobacco's role as a starter drug.

“I wouldn't be surprised if it’s across the board; the general public, politicians, lots of people don’t rank tobacco smoking as serious as other issues and it makes it hard when you are trying to put a programme in place to stop children taking up smoking, if people don’t see it as serious,” Ms Glover says.

She presented her findings at the 14th World Conference on Tobacco and Health in Mumbai, India last week.


Koiwi tangata unearthed from a sewage-treatment plant undergoing an upgrade, has prompted a review of a North Canterbury Council's protocols.

A skeleton has been found at the site, near Amberly, a year after a skull was uncovered during earthworks for the wastewater treatment plant.

Te Marino Lenihan, Ngai Tuahuriri cultural advisor, says discussions on the councils alleged non-compliance with correct protocols when finding human remains would take place at a meeting on Wednesday.

He says iwi want to clarify protocols around the discoveries of koiwi tangata and other archaeological remains.

“When the cranium was found last year, the council had to get an archaeological authority from the Historic Places Trust, and that contained a number of conditions in it which does provide for a conversation with tangata whenua with our people. While we’ve had that sporadically, after the fact and Wednesday’s meeting with the council is really to sort to process out so we don’t have to keep revisiting this in the future,” Mr Lenihan says.

Iwi hope the council incorporates better protocols in its resource consents process.


The director of Auckland's Tobacco Control and Research Centre says the developing world could benefit from New Zealand's Maori tobacco control programmes.

Marewa Glover returned on Saturday from speaking at the 14th World Conference on Tobacco and Health in Mumbai, India where she says New Zealand was a leader in tobacco control.

She says developing nations could learn a lot from programmes like Aukati Kai Paipa, Quitline ads for Maori by Maori and the Its About Whanau campaign.

“If they go and take all their guidance from the white west like the Americans and the British, I think they need a wider range especially of how to deliver to diverse populations and in New Zealand we certainly have some examples of how to deliver effectively to Maori, and others can learn from that,” Dr Glover says.

She says taking part in world conferences was important for keeping abreast of what’s going on in tobacco control globally.


Children’s Commissioner Cindy Kiro says unless whanau encourage rangatahi to seek peaceful resolutions when dealing with bullying at school, they face the prospect of an increase in school ground violence.

A report released at a school violence summit in Wellington today, highlights bullying as a growing problem in all schools.

Dr Kiro says in her experience if bullying is not addressed it can lead to incidents of violence.

She says whanau often tell their kids to stand up for themselves, indicating using their fists to talk, a practice she does not recommend.

“People do tend to have this attitude of ‘you just got to stand up for yourself, fight back’ which is actually bad advice because what we’ve found is that when children do attempt to do that, they are more likely to end up with serious injuries so I’m just surmising here that that might be a more common view among Maori whanau and we find it’s actually a dangerous thing to advise your child to do. What you need to do is tell them to be prepared to tell you and tell the school if it is going on,” Dr Kiro says.

She says because schools are self-managed, regulating a consistent process for bullying can be difficult and she hopes this may be addressed at the summit.


Te Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira says reinstating knighthoods does nothing to recognise Maori public service.

Mr Harawira says Maori need to create their own honours list and design their own criteria for recipients.

He says the Kawariki Awards presented by a ginger group of far north Maori sovereignty activists recognised Maori service in a kaupapa Maori context, something the knighthoods fail to address.

“The Kawariki Awards was acknowledging people like Saana Murray, Sid Jackson, Tame Iti, Ranginui Walker, those sorts of people. People we thought had achieved something for the betterment of Maori, not because the Crown says so or anyone else says so,” Mr Harawira says.

The Kawariki Awards stopped in the 1990s and Maori need to start up something similar to recognise Maori by Maori.


Blogger Gary Lee said...

I notice you have a couple of posts about bullying.

I don't know whether your posts support the views of Dr Kiro - but the most concerning part was that, 'A report released at a school violence summit in Wellington today, showed bullying was a growing problem in all schools.'


How many reports, surveys and awareness
campaigns are needed before the penny drops that action is the solution?!

As a journalist I trust you will be interested in the following information about a remarkable individual working in schools around the world addressing issues of bullying (all forms), anger, hate, violence and prejudice.
This short video introduces him and his programs:


2:14 AM  

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