Editorial: Break-in a reflection of lost soul

By Craig Cooper

2 comments
A young Maori in touch with their culture does not break into buildings on the grounds of a marae. Photo / John Stone
A young Maori in touch with their culture does not break into buildings on the grounds of a marae. Photo / John Stone

I wonder if the young man who broke into a building on the Whangarei Terenga Paraoa marae grounds knows much about the history of this marae.

The 18-year-old was arrested after he was found in a toilet on the marae property.

He is accused of breaking into the Ringa Atawhai - Maori Like Minds, Like Mine building, which is adjacent to the marae.

Ringa Atawhai offers community health services from its base. To add cultural insult, the teenager was in the toilets when police arrived and took off, but was caught.

His alleged crime under NZ law is burglary. The breaches of tikanga Maori are many.

The incident has saddened the manager of Ringa Atawhai who considers their building to have been violated by a young man, who as a Maori, should have known better.

The manager is willing to consider the possibility of restorative justice. Whether it is part of the restorative justice process or incorporated in the penalty, the young man should learn the history of this marae.

He'll find that it is a marae that was built to connect local Maori with their roots, if they had lost touch with their own marae, or other aspects of their culture.

A young Maori in touch with their culture does not break into buildings on the grounds of a marae.

In that regard, he couldn't have chosen a better marae to break into, and I suspect that once he learns a little about Terenga Paraoa, he may find something within himself to be proud of, and I doubt he will break into a marae ever again. Ultimately, he will never break into any building again, regardless.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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