Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Whanau approach needed to tackle youth offending

Tauranga district court judge Paul Geoghaegan says a whanau based treatment approach to curbing criminal behaviour among ragantahi is needed.

Judge Geoghaegan says it's pointless putting rangatahi on programmes then sending them back to a contaminated environment.

“ Often it's the family dynamics that are contributing to the courses of this young person’s offending. If we don’t treat the whole family, we often just miss the point.

“Because we can send young people away to programmes for three months and they can come back with the best intentions, but if they’re back in a situation with bad dynamics and pro-offending behaviour, then what 15 or 16 year old is going to be able to resist that. They can’t and it’s unrealistic for us to expect they can,” Judge Geoghaegan says.

There are many good programmes out there for rangatahi offenders and he would like to see more which include and are designed from a whanau perspective.


The leader of the Labour Party says its candidate in the Mt Albert by-election will serve Maori well as he has empathy for indigenous people.

Phil Goff says David Shearer's experience as an international aid worker is a reflection of the compassion and commitment he has to help indigenous people.

Mr Shearer also worked with Tainui on environmental planning.

“He has the ability to reach out to all sections of the community but having done that work for Tainui a few years ago I think he has a particular connection in that area and a good understanding through his work in United Nations about issues that affect indigenous peoples right across the world, but a particular knowledge of Maori in New Zealand,” Mr Goff says.

Although Labour had a 2500 vote majority in the Mt Albert electorate in last year’s election, he expects this weekend’s byelection could be very close.


Hawkes Bay Eastern Institute of Technology put on an afternoon of Matariki celebrations today with kai, waiata and a fashion show using only traditional materials.

Waipa Te Rito, the Maori liaison officer, says it's the first year they have put so much effort into Matariki.

Ms Te Rito, of Ngati Kahungunu and Rangitane says the institute’s design students created a Flax Arts Fashion Showcase which was well received by the mainly Pakeha audience.

The polytech will conclude Matariki celebrations tomorrow with a hangi.


A family court judge says changing the lives of rangatahi who have been raised in violent homes will be a long battle.

Paul Geoghaegen spoke at the Presbyterian Social Service’s Preventing Family Violence conference on an Upper Hutt marae last week.

He says there are many good treatment programmes, but in many cases the pyschological damage of growing up in a violent home has already been done.

“I see 15 and 16 years olds in the Youth Court who have been brought up within violent families and it is so much more difficult to turn those kids around. All the statistics show that Maori are over-represented so we have a particular need to address that issue also,” Judge Geoghaegen says.

The hui resolved to look at improving communication within social services to allow for early identification of rangatahi and whanau in crisis.


Controversial historian Paul Moon says the true origins of Matariki must be remembered so as not to commercialise the event in a similar way to Christmas.

Mr Moon says each iwi have their own particular meanings behind Matariki and for some it is believed to be a special time because many chiefs would die from winter ailments.

He says losing those stories in favour of the contemporary theme of celebration may turn Matariki into a day like Valentines day or Christmas day.

“There's a risk of that happening and the risk is you lose awareness of those layers of meaning. It just becomes something you wear on a T-shirt of something you have a party for and that’s it/ I think it would be unfortunate if we just left it at that because this is a concept that goes back well before people were in New Zealand. It’s what the first arrivals here brought with them from Polynesia so it’s very ancient,” Professor Moon says.

He says it's great the interest in Matariki increases each year, but people need to remember that there are many meanings to the event.


Junior All Black Hooker Hikawera Elliot says the naming of Tamati Ellison as captain of the team was greeted with delight, particularly by the Maori players.

Mr Elliot, of Ngati Awa, says it’s a well deserved honour for the winger.

He says his friend has long history of leadership, captaining the Wellington and Maori teams, and it's great to see a Maori at the helm


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