Duncan Garner: Māori need fierce leaders to show the way

Opinion 17/05/2019

It's a turn off every time you hear it - you shake your head and wish someone would do something about it.

As a Pākehā New Zealander, I know it's an issue and I wonder what's being done about it.

Many of you will feel the same. I'm talking about the shocking rates of Māori child abuse, and what Māori are doing about it themselves, or not doing.

It seems we're scared to speak out and say the obvious, in case we're accused of racism.

But it's not racist to say Māori have a child abuse issue.

The real leaders amongst Māori say it themselves, and the figures say it louder than anyone. It's recurring across generations and, yes, the system and policing methods haven't always helped.

Now we have eight in 10 young prisoners who are Māori - seven in 10 foster kids are Māori.

It's intergenerational violence, unemployment, gangs, drugs, no role models, surrounded by poor choices and judgement.

Māori don't need a Māori climate commissioner.

They need fierce leaders to stand up and speak out and call Māori out on this issue.

The Māori Council has decided that's them - good on them.

From today a new online campaign gets underway telling whānau to put down their fists and own this issue.

Change your ways, do something different.

I applaud them, they'll target gangs, violence and meth.

The answer lies within. Don't rely on the state because you're sure to fail if you think the Government will solve it.

Only Māori can achieve this.

Young men and women as leaders, showing others the way.

Good on the council.

Be courageous, be honest. We all need to look in the mirror - that's a good place to start if you're wondering what must change.

Duncan Garner is host of The AM Show.