'Hypocrisy' to talk of aroha, whanau, says police commander

By Angela Gregory

There is an element of hypocrisy to Maori and Pacific Island cultures that promote aroha (love) and whanau (family), says Counties Manukau's police district commander, Superintendent Steve Shortland.

Maori and Pacific Island people were over-represented in family violence statistics, he said at yesterday's vigil at Mangere Mountain to welcome Matariki, the Maori New Year.

Given that the cultures claimed to embrace aroha and whanau, there was "some sort of hypocrisy" going on. "How do you embrace whanau and aroha when you are belting each other and children for no reason other than 'We are angry'?"

Mr Shortland said in the Counties Manukau district the percentage of family violence emergency calls had doubled in the past four years.

They accounted for 21 per cent of all 111 calls in 2001 and 42 per cent in 2005.

In the past year Counties Manukau had received more than 10,000 reports of family violence.

Although it was good that women were reporting abuse, the figure was a sad indictment on the community.

Last year nine out of 12 murder victims in the district were killed by people closest to them.

Mr Shortland said those who turned a blind eye to family violence were in effect condoning it.

Many of the 300 present at the vigil were outraged at the Kahui family's silence over the violent deaths of the twin babies Chris and Cru.

Maori kuia June Jackson, of the Manukau Maori Urban Authority, got a favourable reaction from the crowd when she called for the Kahui family to be thrown into jail.

The whanau was "just rubbish" but she said there was a problem with distrust between Maori and the police.

At a breakfast held after the vigil, Police Minister Annette King described the situation in South Auckland as "desperate" for many women and children.

Anne Candy, deputy mayor of Manukau City, said she was usually proud to call herself Maori but was disgusted with the statistics that featured Maori in family violence-related deaths.

"It's an absolute disgrace that parents are killing their children," she said with anger.

Young people needed be taught values and how to budget while they were a captive audience at school because financial stress as adults could see them take it out on their children.

Chief District Court Judge Russell Johnson said family violence cases had been taking too long to get through the courts. At times the cases were dropped because of delays, which meant the victims lost hope and the offenders felt emboldened.

A scheme of family violence list courts in Waitakere and Manukau was being extended in the North Island, he said.

Judge Johnson said people needed coping strategies to avoid violent responses to their problems, and warned that violence in the home spilled out to the streets.

Dr Pita Sharples agreed that violence led to violence, noting that threats had already been made against the Kahui family.

He pointed to the binge drinking culture in New Zealand.

Twice he had been to the Kahui house and everyone was drunk.

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