Alan Duff has had enough

Alan Duff always speaks plainly, this time he is speaking plainly on the blame game over Moko’s death.

Back in NZ – and only Auckland – last week it seems as if I never left France.

Except for one major difference, the negative first: a young Maori couple from Taupo convicted of torturing then killing a child under their care. And not one Maori leader stood up and said anything.

There’s an awful pattern here and if we keep staying silent then the pattern will keep repeating itself. Maoris are more in need of learning parenting skills than are non-Maoris and that applies to a lot of Pacific Island parents too.

No, it’s not racist. It’s a fact. Don’t go into the whys and wherefores. Just look at the kids murdered, beaten up, sexually abused.

But, but they are taonga we are told.

A lot of kids in our beautiful country grow up like this and the vast majority are brown like me. Meanwhile, our tribal leaders trumpet their business triumphs while staying culpably silent on child abuse.

So what are your millions doing for them, Maori leaders? Nothing. Less than nothing with your platitudes and “heartfelt sympathies” falsely expressed, if you say anything at all.

You’d all better call an urgent hui at which you should be discussing do-ies. No ceremonial palaver, no lengthy speechifying, no floor-strutting, tokotoko-waving posturing. Just find solutions. Take it by the horns before another crop of innocent kids are lost forever.

All we have heard is wailing about a cartoon, and how it is everyone else’s fault.

You can bet those hideous child-killer monsters were never exposed to any positive, can-do attitude. No. They grew up on a diet of abuse.

They fell between the cracks at an early age and here our police hold a certain responsibility, though in no way the blame.

The cops have put too much emphasis on road safety and hardly any on safety in the home.

I have visited schools over the years and had certain noticeably serious-looking primary school girl students pointed out to me as suffering regular sexual abuse.

The poor teachers are their surrogate mothers, big sisters, yet unable to help.

The cops should be confronting the abusers and warning them their dues are coming and keep the pressure on them till they slip up.

Instead the cops sit in low-income neighbourhoods to catch car speedsters, pulling over a teacher or three for forgetting to fasten her/his seatbelt. As yet another child endures unimaginable sexual trauma.

Brutal but somewhat true.

If we can get rid of our terrible record on child abuse by Maori tribal leaders issuing books on Best Parenting Skills free to every household, and parenting classes held in every neighbourhood, I would reverse my criticism of the majority of Maori leaders and become their biggest advocate.

I suspect Alan Duff will die disappointed.


– NZ Herald


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  • Pluto

    Whitey Liberal “intellectuals” don’t realise they are a major part of the problem,
    starting each paragraph with “child abuse is a problem in every sector of our society”.
    Well that be technically true but when such a major part of the problem is concentrated in such a small part of our population then don’t you think we could put aside the PC rubbish for a while and deal with the “low hanging fruit” for the sake of the kids.

    • R&BAvenger

      They are right and it is the great tragedy for Maori that they are markedly over represented in this and other matters within NZ society. When will Maori leaders actually lead on this and other dire issues affecting Maori?

      • johnandali

        It’s because so many of the Maori “leaders” have absolutely no real leadership capabilities. Leaders should be selected by the community. Leadership qualities are not something you’re born with – it’s something quite different. And that’s where Maoridom has failed their people. They need real leaders, not people chosen because their birth parents were descended from tribal chiefs. However, do you think that there is even one iwi that will revolutionise the selection process of their leaders? Nah. Not a show.

  • JEL51

    Alan, again your’s is the lone voice with valuable suggestions but someone has to go first.
    I, me Pakeha, was driving pass a Marae not far from here at Easter just as many there were about to leave. I am guessing that would be typical of most Marae all over the country. There was an undeniable sense of joy that comes as with any large family or group of friends meeting-up for a long weekend.
    I had done a lot of camping in that area for many years so I know that many of those whanau visiting for the weekend lived their lives far away from that home base.
    The Marae is the perfect place for that message above to be carried to all but it is up to each car-load leaving to watch-over, listen-out, stand-by, and care for each other where ever they live.
    For the Maramas & Nadias and you all know who you are, do it now, drop the facades and speak out with Alan.

  • Graham Pilgrim

    I see that Willie Jackson has a column in the latest Eastern Courier, (a local freebie in Auckland’s eastern suburbs), banging on about how great the stance is of New Plymouth’s Mayor on Maori seats, and about racism, and how hardly done by are Maori.

    Not a word about child abuse or murder.

    No surprises there!

    • R&BAvenger

      Another one with his head in the sand.

      • Edward M Blake

        Sometimes I suspect Willie Jackson is a lot more switched on than he lets on. The only problem is he would be treated like an apostate if he started speaking to much common sense.

      • taxpayer

        I think his head is stuck firmly somewhere else if you know what I mean.

  • yoyoyo

    The Maori community has to solve this themselves.
    John Key, Andrew Little et al can give tools to help make it happen, but as the saying goes, “you can lead a horse to water but you cant make it drink”

    Mr Duff is bang on but lets hope he can use his influence and passion to guide their community to create some positive change, and not just be a keyboard warrior

  • HR

    For all his good words and intent, he still, like others, has to blame someone else.

  • duve

    Who failed Moko? Lets name some. Marama Fox, Te Ururoa Flavell, Naida Glavish, Willie Jackson. These are Maori who are influential in politics and the media, yet have done absolutely nothing. The Maori Party should go to the polls at the next election with a major policy plank to tackle this problem head on. They won’t though. The “blame” mentality is too ingrained.

  • Whitey

    Alan Duff is right. It’s time for Maori leaders to step up and do some leading. The problem is at least partly cultural, and it has to be addressed on a cultural level. This is one of the responsibilities that come with leadership.

  • Jdogg

    Go Mr Duff, hopefully you are canvasing the relevant Iwi leaders, et al, as we speak.

  • axeman

    The problem is that Maori in general tend to point the finger at Pakeha and past greivinances, but the problem with pointing fingers, is that for everyone you point there is three pointing back at you. Just sometime you have to look in the mirror and be shocked at what you see. Duff is right and unfortunately the Once Were Warriors mentality of Jake the Muss is still as prevalent as it was back then.

  • Tracy

    Alan Duff is pointing out the truth, he is placing the blame on this who should be blamed and confirming there is a problem with Maori beating & killing kids – if WO had published the exact same sentiments there would have been cries of racsim and the usual abuse that comes out of the woodwork. It is a pity more Maori do not stand up and accept the issue and say enough is enough instead of blaming everyone else and whining about a cartoon which quite frankly is a good depiction of the situation – the truth hurts.

  • DangerMice

    I pick up my stepson from Avondale College most days, and while I wait I see the kids from Avondale Intermediate walking down the street. Everyday without fail, young Maori kids from the Intermediate are swearing, yelling abuse at each other across the street and it’s not unusual to see a kid take a punch. What hope for the future, when they are like this at this age?

  • Hesaidwhat?

    And its sticks out like the proverbial the only time a Labour MP has commented is when that halfwit Jacinta tried to score points by blaming the crown prosecutor for the manslaughter plea. My understanding is the key witnesses who would give evidence were the victims sister and the offenders children. The Crown decided that accepting the plea bargin was in the best interests of these kids as they had been severely traumatised and reliving it for court would damage them further. So typical of labour to go off half cocked and try to make milage out of someones misery.

  • Genevieve

    Books on ‘best parenting’ skills and parenting classes are going to have very limited success. At the root of this problem is the fact that some people should never become parents. They are damaged goods due to the lousy upbringing provided by their parents, and instead of producing another generation, they should be discouraged from having kids. This could involve a financial incentive to have long-term contraceptive implants/ injections. Unfortunately a move like this would be viewed by some as an invasion of human rights, but I think the problem has gone past the point of considering the adult’s rights, when child abuse in its various forms is so tightly woven into the fabric of certain cultures in New Zealand.

  • taxpayer

    Alan Duff is a good man, if only a few more so called Maori leaders had half the sense and the real Mana that Alan has maybe things would be different.
    Not the BS Mana that the likes of Hone claims to have while he does nothing but line his pocket at every opportunity.
    I would love to know how many young lives have been changed for the better thanks to Alan”s, Duffy Kids, Books in Homes project, plenty I would think.
    Yes he actually got of his chuff and did something worthwhile to help young Maori kids.
    Where the rest of them are content to simply attend hui after hui where they talk rubbish and stuff their faces with free food over and over again.

    • johnandali

      The real problem is that Maori leadership is inherited. In all democratic countries, leadership has no bearing on one’s inheritance, but is based purely on the attributes of those who wish to become leaders.

      During my Army career, I found that 60% of the personnel were Maori. And the NCOs and officers were chosen purely on their leadership capabilities. And the leadership qualities of Maori NCOs and officers were amazing. But did any of them qualify for leadership in the Maori community? I would think that the answer would be very few or even none at all.

      Look at our present Governor General. I was his testing officer when he was a young candidate on a Regular Officer Selection Board (ROSB). I still have no idea whether he has any mana in the Maori community, but the leadership attributes that he demonstrated during the entire week of the ROSB were so great, that I had to “casualty” him time and time again from the group tests in order to see if the other candidates showed any leadership qualities. If he is reading this, he will realise for the first time why he had to stand on the side-lines so many times.

      If Maoridom wishes to become a democratic system, it needs to look no further than something similar to a ROSB system to identify its potential leaders. I would like to test the current Maori leaders using the same system, and I bet that most of them would fail miserably. A leader has to be a leader. And that’s where Maoridom has gone wrong.

      • taxpayer

        Good point, inherited leadership has never worked well, even since the time of the Romans and more recently with some of the famously insane European monarchs.
        Simply not a good way to run things is it.

        • Effluent

          I’m not sure that is true – the British empire was won by armies organised on very hierarchical lines, with a heavy stuffing of aristocrats at the top. Interestingly enough, the Royal Navy was more inclined to place weight on merit in its promotion practices, but you still needed ”interest” (i.e the active support of a patron with influence at the Admiralty) to get on.

          It always surprises me how successful the British were over the centuries, given the obvious drawbacks of this system, but I can only conclude that within the pool of ‘suitable’ candidates for high rank, the Army and Navy boards must have exercised some sense on occasions in picking the better qualified candidates, rather than those with the most ‘interest’.

          As an aside, the British Army also managed to find generals from the ranks of the aristocracy who were undoubtedly the equals of those of any age, such as the Duke of Wellington, Marlborough, and others.

          Bear in mind also that the education, training and ethos of the aristocracy was geared towards producing military leaders – they did get this right surprisingly often.

          – see NAM Rodger – The Wooden World.

          • taxpayer

            Yes this is true, right up to WW1 where it was found that many of the higher officers and generals were incompetent in the face of an army with equal firepower. In some cases the battle plans and orders issued to the ranks were borderline insane.
            I believe that was virtually the end of the aristocracy’s hold over the armed forces.

        • Judith Furlong

          North Korea comes to mind!

  • MaryLou

    Yes, although I think suicide in young people has different demographics. All the Global warming, poisoning the earth, “people are bad and ruining the earth” schtick is (personal belief based on unfortunate observations) is very, very hard on young people, who are also being told it’s a hopeless case. Add that to wars in every direction, the rich control the world, normal teenage angst and perhaps a less developed ability to deal with things than teenagers had 30 years ago, and we’re creating a really difficult world for young people to come to terms with. The more sensitive ones sometimes struggle to see any “point”. Unfortunately I think there’s probably as many of these as there are physically abused people who commit suicide. If you put the equation the other way round though, and ask “what percentage of physically and sexually abused children end up committing suicide”, then yes – probably a sadly high percentage.

    • Karma

      And now we’re confusing young people even more with the gender-binary-he-she-they business!

      If I recall, a suicide was the tipping point in Once Were Warriors to break the cycle of violence within a family. Breaking the cycle is key…that should be the anti-violence message every hour of every day until the message gets through. Not just a message one week a year.

  • Catriona

    Ok. So if I go and beat my kid to death, whose to blame? Can I blame the kid for testing my patience? Can I blame it on my husband because he’s in jail? Can I blame it on everyone else around me because I’m too pathetic to own up to it? Can I blame it on the booze? Can I blame it on the drugs?
    No. I need to look at myself fair and square in the mirror and take ownership of the situation instead of lying through my teeth trying to abdicate my responsibility in the whole sorry mess.
    Nothing to do with CYFS, Womens’ Refuge, Politicians or Mr Nobody I’m afraid.

  • Left Right Out

    I had been wondering if we would hear from Alan…. no I know he was out of the country. I love the way he calls a spade a spade…. and he is bang on…. Until Maori admit there is a problem the vicious circle will continue

  • waldopepper

    with intelligence and common sense like that why isnt alan duff at the top of the maori party or somewhere similar? or is he too intelligent and stays away from politics. i hope he changes his mind at some stage, as i think the country would be better for it.

    • Judith Furlong

      Alan Duff is not much liked in Maoridom as he speaks too much truth! He was criticised relentlessly over “Once were Warriors” No wonder he lives in France!

  • Judith Furlong

    Many I would suspect!