Why do people have children, when it's not compulsory? I thought the answers were self-evident (they're to do with the amount of love in the world) but I recently came across an overseas publication in which some brave souls were being lauded for their frankness in admitting that their children were a disappointment to them.

It came down to people feeling miffed because they're missing out on "bragging rights" – as though your children were brought into being to impress your friends.

Parents quoted lamented their children's lack of focus, lack of interest in the arts, time spent in bedroom, lack of passion, academic failure.

You don't have to be a registered counsellor to see that many of the parents fail to notice their children's behaviour is simply rebellion, a way of establishing their independence.


If you're willing to be disappointed, then you'll be able to find disappointment wherever you look. Parents' primary responsibility is to enjoy watching the latter grow and fulfil themselves, not fulfil their parents' dreams or achieve their own failed ambition.

A parent's job is to help their kid become the great person everyone is capable of being.
It's bad enough a grown adult is still allowing their own disappointment and disillusionment to overshadow their lives without using an innocent child to fill in the gaps.

Kids exist to be themselves, not who we want them to be. To expect anything else guarantees you will be disappointed. Not that your children will care because with this kind of attitude you'll have lost their respect by now anyway.


The teaching of te reo Māori in schools has resurfaced as a focus for (mainly) white commentators to belittle Māori culture.

Their excuse – because it's nothing against Māori, you see – is that no one should be "forced" or "compelled" or "made" to learn anything.

But their use of English betrays their attitude to Māori. How much weaker their argument would sound if instead of talking about children "being forced to learn Māori" they talked about schools "providing" te reo instruction for everyone, just as they provide free education with the provision of subjects such as English and maths to all.

Having been told for 200 years that their culture is second-rate – great for tourism, but that's about it – few things would do more, and do it more painlessly, to improve understanding between Māori and other New Zealanders than for all to share the former's language – the tongue that exists only on these shores.

Obviously, it doesn't directly address all the problems of poverty, injustice and inequality that Māori have to confront, but it will address attitudes that directly feeds into this problem by showing that the whole nation respects the tangata whenua. It's not the solution, but it has to be part of the solution.


No one on the National benches will admit to having called the Prime Minister "a stupid little girl" and, admittedly, it does the speaker no credit in terms of their wit, originality or accuracy, but it's no surprise because Parliament is one of the few places where no one is expected to stand by their words.

However, at the risk of flattering MPs by comparing them to schoolchildren, it's worth noting that back when I was at school, if no one owned up, everyone had to stay in.