A New Zealand researcher claims Maori are more likely than other groups to have a "warrior" gene which is linked to aggressive behaviour and addictive peronalities. Opponents say there are many more factors which dictate whether a person is violent or likely to become addicted to things such as alcohol.

Do you believe the genetic make-up of any ethnic group can be linked to something like violent tendencies? Or is the claim an irresponsible statement likely to unfairly damage Maori?

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This discussion is now closed. Thanks to all those who sent their views.


Kia ora, I would like to thank the all-wise researchers for uncovering the Maori Warrior Gene. I always wondered why I said naughty words whenever I hit my thumb with a hammer! I am also relieved to know that the reason I kick my truck in the tyre whenever it won't start is because of this gene too! I will now be able to distinguish between my Maori and non-Maori brethren much easier... the Maori is the angry one :-) Please pass on my thanks to the people involved in this research and let them know that the next time we put a hangi down, we'll put a couple of packs aside for them as a token of our gratitude... unless of course we get angry and end up killing each other! PS... all sarcasm intended :-)

- Shane Nikora

This is purely speculation & hearsay. If the people go about broadcasting this to the nation then it will indeed become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If people think they have a gene that makes them violent or have an addictive make-up then they will have. Blame will fall to this "gene" and people won't take responsibility for their own actions. Personally I think this is not true & should not warrant front page headlines.

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- Adam Roys

The article in this morning's Herald was quite a hoot to read over breakfast, but left me wondering what planet Dr Rod Lea does his research on, or alternatively what substance your reporter has been partaking of. Firstly, monoamine oxidase is not a gene, but an enzyme responsible for metabolising monoamines such as dopamine, serotonin and adrenaline in the brain. Secondly, an excess of monoamine oxidase in the brain would not result in aggression or outgoing behaviour, but rather the opposite, namely sadness, inertia and perhaps irritability. That is why the anti-depressants known as the Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors were developed. Perhaps though, the early pacific explorers were depressed, lethargic and grumpy. (Ah-ha - I get it - Once Were Worriers. Of course!) Thirdly, and more worryingly, we don't need yet another shonky excuse for any group or individual's violence and aggression. That simply makes it harder for those of us working to reduce these problems.

- Merlin Curreen

What is weird is that most people begin to rant or rave without even considering if the "warrior gene" claim is true or not. If it is not true, it can be dismissed. If it is true, then we are better informed than we were before.

- Simon Humphrey

I think what many 'professionals' in this or any field is that we break things down for purposes of human understanding. Scientific theory is to continue to test and keep trying to prove something until it's proven otherwise. Doing a 'study' to try to confirm a supposition is altogether another thing and should not be considered 'scientific' in the least. As many readers have already responded you could have applied this so-called study across any other group. I suspect that this 'article' was more of a way to draw response than anything.

- Sean Moore

Maoris have more "Warrior" genes? Nonsense! Having been born in SE-England, my own gene pool is derived from: club-toting Briton, bloodthirsty Celtic, military all-conquering Roman, axe-wielding Saxon, invading Norman, bear-skinned Viking . . . need I go on.

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- Bill Blunt

I agree totally with the theory having had involvement with a family member exhibiting all of those classic signs - aggressive, bully, arrogant, bigoted know all and addicted to both alcohol & nicotine. His swaggering style of walking is also a classic demonstration of his vision of himself as a "warrior".

- John Lewis

I am in full support of the freedom of press. However stories like these are extremely irresponsible and psueudo-scientific using limited data to make sweeping strokes across a specific national segment of our society. You could have easily taken this article and applied it to nearly any other nation or tribe or ethnic group and I find it to be taking facts and presenting them COMPLETELY out of context. The purposes of breaking things down is for purposes of understanding. 99.9% of our genetic make up is nearly almost EXACTLY the same. With that said our genes RESPOND to the environment. To make such generalisations about 1 particular ethnic group and presenting it as scientific front page news is something I find reprehensible. Please see fit to put opinion pieces in the opinion column.

- Sean Moore

In my opinion poverty is not linked to aggression for the Maori. Any person can turn agressive depending on the circumstances. It is simply human nature. Try using a bit of common sense.

- Tom Wilkie

Moheka's comment that Maoris are warriors says it all. When comments like this are imbued in the juveniles of any society and coupled with aggressive posturing at every public opportunity there can only be one result, a so called "warrior gene". It is a pity that the "researchers" couldn't find something more important to spend their time on. I suppose the servicemen who went overseas to fight in the World Wars to fight also have the warrior gene.

- Graeme Hunger

What racist garbage, Dr Lea has based his conclusions on small numbers and unpublished (and therefore unverifiable) work. If Maori are more violent then Pakeha how does he explain the colonisation of New Zealand (not to mention the rest of the world)? Maybe he would be better off trying to find the "crusader" gene that seems to drive Europeans to want to colonise, control and catagorise the rest of humanity.

- Tim Rochford

It's a dangerous field, investigating genetic differences between Maori and Pakeha. What next, differences in the genes which determine IQ? It's an area best left alone.

- Martin B

The presentation of a propensity for excessive behaviour as solely 'gene' linked could be misleading, especially if it is given a title appealing to the young! Instead of the term 'warrior', try 'primitive' to blunt any youthful appeal. Lack of control is fed by many factors including poor parental role models, lack of appropriate education, the destruction of 'family' in the community, 'numbing' television violence and diminished personal discipline. By all means investigate these factors but try not to glorify already injurious and unstable life patterns.

- Ken Crafar

A gene for this a gene for that, why the sudden interest in the Maori gene, why not for example genes of other races? Why not the genes of colonists, after all the aggressors are the Crown and their subjects, the proof is on the world map under British Colonial red, how about a gene study for those races that have a pre-dispensation for mass murder and genocide - this is racism and so is the study. Maori were not just warriors, they were and are learned people as well - put that in your gene study.

- Moheka

Since when did "warriors" by defintion have addictions? It stands to reason if you take an aggressive population and hunt for a gene common to them you will find one. This is not news!

- Roger Ramjet