'Theme 8 'Māori violence'

Māori are affected by violence more than others, either as perpetrators or victims.
Warriors, ’warrior gene’, primitive, Jake the Muss, gangs, ‘bro’ type language, thugs, staunch, Māori child abuse.
  • Widespread and repeated use of images of haka and wero to represent Māori.
  • “Gang rampage at university - Students at haka practice bashed” Auckland Star, May 1979
  • “A New Zealand researcher claims there is an over-representation of the ’warrior gene’, which has been linked to aggressive behaviour, in Maori men.” New Zealand Herald audio clip (website), August 9, 2006.
  • Repetitive use of Māori children as illustrations of child abuse.
  • Māori and Māori men in particular, are inherently violent.
  • Non-Māori violence is the action of “bad apples”, Māori violence is cultural or genetic.
  • Non-Māori don’t abuse their children, or do so less than Māori.
  • Māori accept and cover up violence.
  • Māori are generally unconcerned about using crime to support themselves.
  • Creates fear of Māori.
  • Makes Pākehā family violence and child abuse invisible.
  • Sensationalising Māori crime sells.
  • Masks how Māori are victims of state violence (eg Land Wars, beaten for speaking Māori at school, Ruatoki raids).
  • The stigma of violence is focused on Māori families.
  • Reinforces stereotypes of Māori as violent.
  • Increases Māori belief in these negative stereotypes.
  • Unmask white crime.
  • Be aware that Māori child-rearing practices are often subject to the (changing) whims of the dominant culture. Pākehā researchers in the 1950s commented that Māori spoilt their children and didn’t hit them enough and that Māori thought corporal punishment in school was abhorrent and cruel.
  • Don’t sensationalise crime unnecessarily.
  • Sixty-six percent of children killed by family members between 1996 and 2000 were non-Māori.  [Connelly, M. & Doolan, M. (2007) Lives cut short — Child death by maltreatment. Dunmore Publishing, Wellington, p. 41.]
  • Child abuse and family violence happens in all cultures and reporting should reflect this accurately.
  • Well-off families are more able to keep family violence from coming to police attention.
Download all 14 themes in a booklet (landscape A4 pages)