Yes it is a cultural issue

Some academic says that we are all wrong in thinking that child abuse is a cultural issue:

More and more New Zealanders believe child abuse is a cultural issue despite statistics showing that abuse does not discriminate between cultures, a social work lecturer says.

Raema Merchant, a social work lecturer at the Eastern Institute of Technology, said it was unclear how the public had developed a perception that it was a Maori issue.

Her masters thesis at Massey University found about half of the children killed in New Zealand died at the hands of a Pakeha abuser.

Almost 9000 children were victims of physical abuse between 2000 and 2008, yet only 21 became “household names” in the media, she said.

Just one-third of child deaths were reported in the press, and they were predominantly Maori cases.

“Where are they getting it from? Child abuse is not a cultural issue.”

Raema Merchant though doesn’t tell us the full picture…she only tells us the statistics that suit her twist to the tale of New Zealand’s appalling child abuse statistics.

If she was right that it isn’t cultural then we should see figures that roughly equal the population mix. We are not…however she only told us the European statistics and so about the only thing we can work out from the statistics is that Eurpeans are far less likely than others to abuse their children.

Interestingly this article is almost a word for word re-hash of an article by Kate Chapman and Dana Levy nearly a year ago. And that article tells a disctinctly different picture where it shows that:

New research by Eastern Institute of Technology social work lecturer Raema Merchant found Pakeha kill as many of their children as Maori, although Maori were the “face of abuse” in the media.

Maori make up 14.6% of the population but kill and abuse their kids at the same rates and everyone else. The split is about 50/50. Her research clearly shows that child abuse most certainly is a cultural issue with Maori hugely more likely than everyone else to kill or abuse their children.

Today’s article is sloppy repeating.


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  • thor42

    Yet another stupid bloody hand-wringing wishy-washy bleeding-heart pinko.
    Of **course** it’s a cultural issue! Maori need to own-up to their crap and fix it. No one else can do it for them.  

    • Seka

      Again, correlation does not prove causation. When you control for socioeconomic factors and childhood adversity, Maori are no more likely to commit crime than any other ethnicity.

      Guess that throws your ‘ethnicity causes crime’ rubbish out the window, huh.

  • Philip ure a cock

    Demonstrates the value of a masters degree from EIT – what a joke and waste of taxpayer money


    Look out,can hear the racist rumblings already.Cant escape facts.May not be cultural,but certainly Maori need to stump up and own the problem.Seems they are to good at covering up for family,and blaming everyone else,including putting it onto the white fulla for coming here. Unsure if them trying to fix it will work,as problem has out grown their capability to deal with properly.Sorry folks but this is going to require all the help it can get.

  • thor42

    People like this lecturer are the biggest “racists” of all.

    There have been a *huge* number of bad acts carried out around the world by “well-meaning” Europeans against the local natives. All done with “good intentions”. The ban against the American Indian “potlatch ceremony”, for example.

    It’s the old saying – “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”. This lecturer, with her good intentions, is doing Maori no favours at all with her softly-softly patronising attitudes.

    • seka

      Obviously you are not well educated. The word huge does not require asterisks, and correlation certainly does not prove causation.

  • Blair Mulholland

    If fifteen percent of the population are causing 50% of the child deaths, that is definitely a cultural issue.  But I disagree with this idea of telling Maori “you need to sort your shit out”.  It is everyone’s responsibility to point out what is going on and deal with it, and get Maori buy-in for it.  And so far there has been much hand-wringing, but precious little pinpointing of the cultural issues and even less demands to fix those problems.

    Let’s look at what Maori do with their children.  Firstly, the vast majority of them are born out of wedlock.  They tend to be born to younger mothers.  They tend to get sent off to whangai parents – extended relatives.  The abused ones tend to grow up in beneficiary households.  And the caregivers – on the DPB – then hook up with men who are not the fathers, also on benefits.  It is these guys who do most of the beating up and abusing.

    On all this there is some agreement.  But if you tell Maori, and indeed New Zealanders in general, that we need looser employment laws to overcome the discrimination Maori men face in seeking work, a lower minimum wage, welfare reform that stops paying women to make babies, and even better regulation of childcare that makes it harder for Maori parents to palm off their kids to relatives, people recoil in horror.  But this is what will be required to fix the problem, and until then, it is not Maori who are responsible, but all New Zealanders who continue to vote for poor politicians.

    • Matt

      Are you related to Charlotte? Keep your ignoramus remarks to yourself please, Sir. You never know who may be reading them.

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  • Seka

    Some academic? AKA someone more intelligent than you, Mr Slater? First year university students learn that correlation does not prove causation…These stats certainly do not prove that child abuse is a cultural issue.

    Get yourself an education, Sir.