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Health leader urges tougher penalties for domestic violence

Filed under: Domestic Violence — domviol @ 11:00 pm Fri 28th October 2005

A leading Maori health provider has called for tougher penalties for men who beat their wives and children.

Darrin Haimona, chief executive of Waikato-based Ngati Haua Healthcare, told a domestic violence conference in Auckland yesterday that traditional Maori culture was no excuse for Maori men who were violent.

He attacked comments last week by Waitakere Judge Philip Recordon, who said men charged for the first time with domestic violence offences should be encouraged to plead guilty and go on non-violence courses, rather than being jailed.

“We need to be consistent in messages saying that violence is taken seriously,” Mr Haimona said.

“I’m saying use jail more as a deterrent, while at the same time that is a difficult statement for me to say when I understand that there are more Maori people within prisons.

“I’m supporting much stronger penalties. The penalties need to fit the crime.”

Under current law, assaults bring heavy penalties of up to 14 years in jail, but men who breach protection orders by visiting estranged partners or failing to attend non-violence courses face only fines of up to $5000 or six months in jail – or two years if they have already offended at least twice in the previous three years.

Surveys suggest that domestic violence is prevalent among Maori. In 2001, 49 per cent of Maori women, but only between 23 and 25 per cent of European, Pacific and other women, said they had been hit, threatened or frightened by a partner some time.

Mr Haimona said this was the reverse of pre-European Maori society, where the role of women and children was one of “divinity and sanctity”.

When European missionaries opened schools in the Waikato, many Maori families boycotted them because they punished children with violence.

“However, when we look at the statistics today, not only is it in the schools where violence is being perpetrated against our children, but we as Maori men and women are doing the violence towards our own children.

“That is absolutely contrary to our traditional values.”

Menstruating women were seen as tapu (sacred) and were not allowed in the garden because dealing with food would have lowered their status.

Today that status had degenerated to the point where a menstruating woman was often seen as paru (dirty).

“That is not a traditional value base,” he said. “Male violence against women and children is not a traditional aspect. This is something we learned in the schools.”

He acknowledged that warfare was also a feature of traditional Maori society, but he said people who infringed the sanctity of women and children, even in war, were regulated by utu. Utu meant revenge, but it also meant “restoring balance”.

Mr Haimona said the only system that existed to restore “balance” after a transgression today was the justice system.

“I don’t want to see more Maori people going through the police and justice system.

“However, that is the only tool that we can legally use, because our traditional ways of dealing with it might have been a bit too harsh.”


  1. Oh my God,
    Darrin Haemona Maori Health Chief exec goes white-bashing and wants more Maori men imprisoned for domestic violence to boot.
    Wow! trump up enough white male guilt and you could make a great gravy trough to slurp from!

    Listen Mr Haemona. You blame European missionaries for instilling violence in Maori (The same ones who were involved for millenia in internicine warfare and canibalised each other by chance? The same ones who went on raids to abduct other tribes women who they then forcable impregnated to inflate thier own tribe numbers?)

    Bullshit bro’.
    It’s time you and your kind stopped trying to reinvent history, and took responsibilty for your own folk’s attitudes and behavior instead of trying to dump on those who brought modern civilization to a bunch of warring stoneage tribes.
    NZers are already paying huge dollars for prisons to be built faster than Universities and you want us to create even more imprisoned criminals? What’s more thier your own kin!

    Comment by Stephen — Sat 29th October 2005 @ 5:19 am

  2. now, now, Stephen. Your comments are not only completely off-message they also have a distasteful whiff of rascist bigotry.

    I agree that much of what Mr Haemona said is standard liberal hogwash (a failure to take personal responsibility on the basis that there must be some other person or event that has caused the claimed effect). Your response, however, takes the debate outside of the issue with which this category is concerned, and certain of your remarks are manifestly inappropriate and unhelpful.

    Keep your focus.

    Comment by John Self — Sun 30th October 2005 @ 11:21 am

  3. This comment is not racial bigotry,its racial realism,nothing more.Screaming racism only serves to hide the reality of the problem.

    Comment by Rex Howie — Sun 30th October 2005 @ 5:03 pm

  4. John,
    calling someone racist for speaking up is standard practice from many to shut down an argument.
    I’m not going to be guilt tripped into doing so.
    Get used to it.

    Comment by Stephen — Tue 1st November 2005 @ 2:54 am

  5. Stephen, it is not a question of trying to shut down debate. The category is domestic violence. Arguments over the rights/wrongs, causes/effects of other non-related aspects of New Zealand’s history simply fudges the issue, and, I think, plays right into the hands of those disciples of extreme feminism/liberalism who like to try to conflate issues of colonialism with that of patriarchy and what they perceive as the concomitant issue of oppression of women.

    The real issue is the agenda of those liberal/feminist policy makers who over the last fifteen years have succeeded in undermining the traditional family unit through various legislative enactments as well as through conferring statutory discretions upon public servants (such as the thoroughly dishonest David Udy and his equally dishonest henchman Ian Webber) who are either fellow ideological travellers or, will do anything they’re told so long as the money’s right.

    So, keep your focus and stop being so defensive!

    Comment by John Self — Tue 1st November 2005 @ 6:50 pm

  6. Yes John,
    the category is domestic violence. We can agree on that.
    However it’s obviously escaped you that I was responding to the topic of this entire thread – the much publicized commentary by a Maori health official inferring Maori as a people have thier levels of DV because they got thier violent attitudes from European missionaries. That’s an absurd racism related to DV I’m not going to stay quiet about and IMO is entirely on topic.
    As a European guy I’m unashamedly defensive in the face of white-bashing about Maori DV from the likes of Mr Hamoana.
    How ironic then that in pointing out Mr Hamoano’s racist absurdity by airing a few salient details about Maori cultural history (Internicine warfare, abduction and rape) I get patronised by you calling me racist.
    Oh dear. Tiresome twaddle I fear.
    You then have the further patronising nerve to tell me what ‘the real issue is’ before imploring me to keep my focus.
    Wow! And you wonder why I get defensive! LOL!
    I’ll also say that these days I hold my own amongst the extreme liberals/feminists who you appear to fear. They can conflate, deflate, inflate, retroflate, pseudoflate, in fact flate in any way they want, IMO they simply out themselves as deluded!

    Comment by Stephen — Wed 2nd November 2005 @ 3:06 am

  7. Stephen,

    I wholeheartedly concur about the “racist” nature of these comments.

    I am also left feeling gob-smacked that [yet again] DV is falsely portrayed as “men who beat their wives and children”. How about one of Mrs Clark’s queer brigade seriously considers why there are so many men with knife scars, permanent head injuries from pieces of timber et al all inflicted by a “defenceless woman”?

    Comment by Ethos — Wed 2nd November 2005 @ 9:05 am

  8. Stephen. Honestly.

    You say “as a European guy I’m unashamedly defensive in the face of white-bashing about Maori DV from the likes of Mr Hamoana”.
    European as in sauerkraut and bratwurst? or bangers and mash? perhaps chorizo and artichokes? I mean, come on Stephen, what exactly do you mean when you say “as a European”?

    Were you similarly enraged by that cheeky Scotsman William Wallace when you watched Braveheart? (how dare he attribute the ills of his people to the British Crown)

    White-bashing indeed.

    I don’t understand why you’ve insisted that Mr Hemoana take “responsibilty for [his] own folk’s attitudes and behavior”. I mean do you take responsibility for the bad behaviour of all of those folk who share your ethnic/ancestral/cultural background? I mean what if your grandfather was caught masturbating at the pictures? Would you feel responsible?

    I’m sure you wouldn’t. I’m equally sure that no one would expect that you should.

    Mr Hemoana’s speech was just plain embarrasing. Waikato University liberal studies 101 guff. But he spoke for himself or, at most, for the organisation for whom he works.

    Take a deep breath Stevey-boy (and keep your focus!)

    Comment by John Self — Wed 2nd November 2005 @ 10:34 pm

  9. Ethos,
    Thanks for your understanding.

    IMO you seem confused and somewhat belligerant.
    So I’ll spell things out as clearly as I can. Perhaps then you won’t feel the impulse to bait me and will review the reasoning in the debate.

    Mr Hamoana should I believe take responsibility for dealing with his kins present day DV instead of trying to dump on Europeans claiming that European missionaries are to blame for instilling violent attitudes which have filtered down to present day Maori and made certain of them prone to DV. After all it’s a Maori health issue.
    My name is Stephen Gee, not the Americanized and patronising Stevey-boy. I’m going to have to disappoint you. I’m much too old and ugly to be called boy these days.
    All major dictionaries have fine definitions of the word ‘European’. Many are online.
    I’m proudly part Gordon and McKay clan, part Danish, Felmish and Romany.
    I don’t take kindly to people like Mr Hamoana trying to denigrate my ancestors with his disingeneous ethnic blame game.
    Relax, I’m hale and hearty so no need to worry about my aerobic functioning or vision.

    Comment by Stephen — Thu 3rd November 2005 @ 2:25 am

  10. John,
    Let it go. Take it from me, impossible to have a rational argument focused on the issue at hand.

    Comment by dave — Sun 6th November 2005 @ 9:19 pm

  11. Dave, much obliged for your belated advice – I already had, at 2.25am Thursday 3 November 2005 when Stephen went full circle.

    Comment by John Self — Sun 6th November 2005 @ 10:29 pm

  12. Insulting namecalling by inference – (initially racist, then boy, then irrational and unfoccussed) is a very poor substitute for debating the issues.
    If you can’t stand the heat stay out of the kitchen.

    Comment by Stephen — Sun 6th November 2005 @ 11:08 pm

  13. “psst – stevey – you forgot to mention the “condoner of masturbation” inference – go get ‘im cowboy!”

    Comment by John Self — Mon 7th November 2005 @ 9:19 pm

  14. JS,
    How sadly ironic this thread’s about violence.
    I fear your hoist in your own petard.

    Comment by Stephen — Tue 8th November 2005 @ 12:35 am

  15. Admin: I haven’t been watching this thread, and now my attention has been drawn to it I see that it is going nowhere fast.

    There does need to be a debate about the vastly higher incidence of domestic violence in Maori families, and more importantly which interventions can most successfully reduce this.

    If we men are demanding that feminists discuss the issue of violence in a rational and scientific way, without emotional, ideological and political baggage, we need to learn to do it ourselves.

    This discussion is now over.

    Comment by JohnP — Tue 8th November 2005 @ 9:52 am

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