CRIME IN HENDERSON: Has Maori leadership failed their people?
Thakur Ranjit Singh
Waitakere Ethnic Board (WEB) organised a forum in Henderson in early July, 2014 in response to worsening law and order situation, and ways to identify the problems and seek solutions. This was a high powered forum which saw speakers from the community, police, Government, Opposition and Auckland Council. They included Manoj Tahal from Waitakere Indian Association, John Tamihere from Waipareira Trust, Inspector Rob Cochrane from Police, Hermann Retzlaff from Labour Party, Minister Paula Bennett from Government and Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse from Auckland Council.While many questions were raised, hardly any got answers, as usual. This is the first part of media coverage, with respective community response: Indian and Maori
Indians make worrying statistics
Waitakere Ethnic Board (WEB), as an advocacy body, saw a special reason to hold such a forum, as more often than not, it is the ethnic people who become victims to such wanton violence. There is a feeling that unless some judges and Member of Parliament have their loved ones killed this way, things may not change in New Zealand in the near future where ethnic people will merely continue adding to fatal statistics figure, as they have been doing for last two decades. Arun Kumar, who was brutally killed by a young Maori kid in Henderson in June was the eighth person of Indian origin to be a victim of such violence. The worse thing is that this has been going on for some two decades yet our authorities and agencies appear to be sleeping on the job.
More Question than answers on Maori dysfunctional families
He raised another valid point- just before the tragic death of Mr Kumar, a 13 year old threw a brick at a shop owner in Te Awamutu. No charges were laid as the crime did not meet the high threshold for a minor. Tahal wished to know from the authorities: “What is the threshold? Is it murder?”
He raised another unanswered question about the rehabilitation process of young offenders and the multitudes and layers of agencies involved. The biggest irony was that it was unclear which agency was the lead one in charge of monitoring the rehabilitation process. It was also unclear who was ultimately accountable, if anybody at all, for the failures and gaps.
|Part of the large audience|
“Throughout the generations, prominent Māori leaders and respected elders have stressed the importance of Māori holding fast to the Māori language, protocols, and culture, to ensure the survival of Māori people into the future. This message is based on the premise that if the Māori language is lost, then the Māori culture will follow, and ultimately, so will the Māori people.
|Part of the audience :third from left in front is Tuwe Kudakwashe, President of Waitakere Ethnic Board. (WEB)|
They have no idea of the rich treasures left to them by their ancestors. Their language and culture is often borrowed from Black American hip-hop culture."
Has Maori leaders failed their people?
The question that goes begging here is, have Maori political leaders like Doctor Peter Sharples, Tariana Turia, Winston Peters and Hone Harawera, among others, failed their people? While the Iwis are wallowing in wealth, do grassroots Maori seem to be crying for financial help to rescue them from poverty that Waitangi settlements were supposed to deliver? Who are the beneficiaries if those needing assistance are not getting them?
John Tamihere informed that Prime Minister John Key’s electorate was just on the border of West Auckland from Helensville, while Leaders of Opposition David Cunliffe’ s fell within parts of West Auckland in New Lynn and Minister Paula Bennett was from Waitakere and comprised the kitchen Cabinet. John sought more resources for West Auckland. “Three murders in South Auckland, $16 million of new funding goes in, 100 extra police, and so on and so forth. West Auckland 5, and nothing. We cannot be damned by the silence of our lead advocates.” Tamihere said, pleading for more government and local government attention to West Auckland.
|Increased police presence on streets of Henderson subsequent to outcry from public on demand for more security.|
So, Maori need greater resource from local government and national government to help their people. And the question goes begging, what has become of that wealth that should be used for the welfare of the people. What is the money that belongs to Maori is being used for? Despite so many Marae and facilities provided by Government, why cannot respective Maori Iwis organise themselves and utilise some portion of money for the benefit of current people, not for future generations, when the current generation is becoming dysfunctional.
These questions will remain unanswered, same way as why the authorities failed to protect those who needed protection, and will continue adding on to assault and fatal statistics.
The next stage of the coverage of the forum will hear from the political parties, the police and the local government. You would never see this coverage in any mainstream, or side stream media, who were all invited to this event.
|The speakers at the Forum: from left, Minister for Social Development and Waitakere MP, Paula Bennett, and Manoj Tahal.|
[About the Author: Thakur Ranjit Singh is a blogger who runs blog site KIWI PUNDIT. He is also Media and Communities Liaison Officer of Waitakere Ethnic Board. www.kiwipundit.blogspot.co.nz]