We have developed in New Zealand our own unique and generic analysis of all social and economic problems. It allows us to diagnose the cause of all problems and to prescribe a universal solution. Our analysis works as follows:

"Once upon a time, long ago, Maori lived in peace and harmony. Then white people came. They took all the land. Maori were disconnected from their natural environment and their cultural traditions. That caused Problem X. The solution to Problem X is a return of traditional ways. Oh, and money. Always money. That's for recompense. And to fund community groups to assist Maori to recover their past."

The analysis is now so formulaic that anyone can complete a study no matter the subject. Just cut and paste Problem X, sprinkle in some Maori words like whanau and hapu, add much handwringing and concern, and you're done.

There is now a booming industry providing such cookie-cutter analysis. The latest example is the Sir Owen Glenn Report on domestic violence. I quote from pages 127 and 128: "Maori were once a people who held in high esteem their tamariki (children) and wahine (women) because of the treasured roles they had in their whanau, hapu (sub-tribe) and iwi (tribe). Nevertheless, colonisation brought with it new ways, including privileging the place of men, which rendered women and children as their possessions. As Aotearoa was settled, new ways of treating children and women were introduced to Maori whanau and hapu, which included beating them. Some, but not all, Maori chose to adopt these new ways in their whanau as they were pressured to become assimilated with colonialists."


So there you go. Colonisation caused domestic violence. And on cue the Glenn Report declares that disconnection is the problem: "The colonisation of Maori and the subsequent historical trauma inflicted on them has left many whanau disconnected from their iwi and their Maori cultural identity". The analysis wraps up with the customary plea for money: "Those Maori who came forward talked to us about the need for sustainable, better funded and culturally relevant services, based on tikanga Maori."

It's very neat. The problem with Jake the Muss is his great-great-great-great-great-grandad being colonised. And disconnected. It isn't Jake's fault. Poor thing. He's a victim, too. We need to take Jake back to pre-European ways for him to heal and be restored.

I understand from this analysis that there's not a lot we can do for the child-beater who lacks a colonised forebear. His mistreatment of women and children is genetic and cultural. It's the colonialist's way.

The analysis is very satisfying. It attributes blame to history. It removes personal responsibility. It's compassionate and offers a ready solution. We need more funding. A return of land. And resourced community groups to reconnect whanau and hapu. The only problem would be if it weren't true. What if pre-European Maori weren't loving and protective of tamariki? Nah. That couldn't be. Only racists and reactionaries would say that.

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