May 25, 2009
Chair of Te Kahui Mana Ririki Dr Hone Kaa will tell East Coast Māori to vote YES in the upcoming referendum on smacking, during iwi workshops he is running in Gisborne and Hastings over the next two days.
“The referendum question is misleading: ‘Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?’ This question links smacking with good parental correction, which it is not.
“I encourage all Māori to vote ‘YES’ so that the current law, which protects our young ones from physical punishment, is maintained.
“Two years on from enactment, the law as it stands is working well. Police reports show that good parents are not being criminalised, while organisations belonging to the YesVote Coalition* report a huge upsurge in interest from good parents seeking alternatives to violence, including smacking.
“This issue is especially important for Māori because our child maltreatment rates are disproportionately high.”
Te Kahui Mana Ririki has been running workshops with iwi since last year – the workshops explore the alternatives to smacking.
“We have developed a six-step model for Māori whanau, which gives them techniques for parenting without hitting.
“The model which blends modern parenting practices with traditional Maori values has been very enthusiastically received.
“As a people we must transition to non-violent parenting so that our young ones can enjoy family life that is free from violence.”