Seems I'm lumped again with stating the obvious: the dairy robbers, the brawling schoolgirls, the bank robber, the bungling non-alcohol wine thieves, are all brown. If we're open about this then everyone can start addressing the problem knowing what we're dealing with.

I'll next say what should be said, that not a Maori or Pacific Islander I know behaves like these lowlifes. This is as much a class as race issue. Just we have to be honest about it. It's also about education - not the formal kind so much as home education. It's about culture.

These amoral hoods and incompetent robbers have never been taught to aspire to owning a dairy. No parent ever told them it is wrong to steal and more so from hard-working people just trying to make a living.

The fighting girls have never been taught about femininity; taking pride in one's appearance, taught certain behavioural standards. Females brawling touches a nerve with me: I grew up with it. There is nothing uglier, or wrecking of a child's sense of self-worth, than witnessing his/her mother brawling.


Just these girls caught so regularly on mobile phone video don't know it. They think they're just surviving in their do-eat-dog world when it is no such thing. Violence is destroying them long before they reach adulthood. The culture of violence is a cancer.

As half-Maori I have long stopped wondering, even hoping, why no white people or Asians in these captured moments? Like the majority of Maoris, I've come to expect that the offenders will look like our siblings and cousins.

As someone with life experiences of being on the wrong side, I've had a long time thinking about why some people behave like this. Seems to me it is anger first; of the direct kind growing up suffering abuse. The unconscious kind where you lash out without knowing why.

Kids grow up in homes where violence is a big part of conversation, who gave who a "good hiding", who got "smacked over", "got the bash for being too lippy". They know the terms. You, average good reader, probably don't. What, are they headed for university, to join the police force, become a teacher, get into business?

Nah, man. "Dunno what I'm gonna be when I grow up. Prob'ly in jail." This is the type who walks into an Indian's dairy brandishing a knife, a baseball bat, even a gun. He's there, in part, because leadership failed him by not making parenting courses compulsory. That's the Maori and Pacific Island leadership, and a bit of Government culpability, too. The latter a lot less guilty.

Grow up with no one reading a story to you may not seem like a disadvantage. But it is: very much so. A leading New Zealand woman academic once put it, "The thousand-book child is the blessed child." It's why our literacy programme was started.

Grow up with no one reading a story to you may not seem like a disadvantage. But it is: very much so.


A child with no scrap of old blanket, cloth, rag, to suck on is a deprived one. Without a whole mini-zoo of soft animal toys, he/she is bereft of developing ownership, affection, duty, responsibility. A child needs dress-up clothes. Growing up in a household without anything to stimulate the imagination means it won't ever develop. That's the unconscious anger I mentioned.

Unconscious anger at never once being encouraged, not ever given something to dream, to aim for. All of life just one big put-down. Any wonder he's going to storm into the Chinese-owned liquor store wanting, on the face of it, free booze and some cash.

But really, he's trying to claim what was never given him in the first place and of course can't, ever. A sense he's worth something. A feeling of achievement, dubious and stupid though the act is. The girls punching each other would rather be promenading in bikinis on some beach feeling proud of themselves. Yeah, like the white girls do. And brown ones brought up right.

Then there are the white middle-class who former Prime Minister Jenny Shipley recently called "white welfare cheats" who game the system with manipulated income figures to maximise Working for Families tax benefits.

Farmers living on $10 million farms; self-employed; owners of good-sized businesses - I don't know enough about the scam to even guess at who else. They know every trick and employ expert accountants.

These same people sneer and chuck off at the above-mentioned as if St Peter is holding the pearly gates wide open for them with not a single probing question to ask. They might find they're keeping company with the same people they ran off the mouth at.

It is high time Maori and Pacific Island leaders sat down and worked out a plan to give our kids a better future. And for white, middle-class tax thieves to stop the theft and hypocrisy.