Tēnā kōrua Tariana and Pita,
I write to ask you both, as the Minister of Māori Affairs and the Minister of Whānau Ora, to rectify the tapu that has been disregarded. Explicitly, I am referring to the comments and actions made by John Tamihere and Willie Jackson over the past week. As prominent Māori leaders, their male bigotry reflects a tikanga of male dominance rather than a tikanga of male respect for women. The obvious factor to address is JT and Willy’s leadership roles at two organisations which are funded by TPK through the Whānau Ora initiative. As a counsellor I would hate to know that the CEO of a wrap-around social service entity, is contradicting the ethos of her/his organisation by their insensitive handling of a sensitive issue.
Rape is rape; end of story. If JT and Willy can get away with basically vilifying a rape victim, it not only shows their support for male bigotry but inaction on your behalf shows your support for the same tikanga. Te Puni Kōkiri is apparently ‘a group moving forward together to realise Māori potential’ – hopefully “Māori potential” is synonymous with admirable sincerity rather than atrocious callousness. There is no doubt that both MUMA and the Waipareira Trust have and will continue to empower many families, yet there is evident doubt over whether their leaders are fit for the job. I am not calling for TPK to be the moral and ethical police on the organisations it invests into but I am suggesting a needed congruency between the mana of its leaders and the tikanga of their establishments.
Briefly, I call for TPK and Whānau Ora to hand both MUMA and the Waipareira Trust an ultimatum: terminate John Tamihere and Willy Jackson’s contracts within the next two weeks, or further funding towards the mentioned entities will cease at the end of the present financial year. At the end of the day, what kind of an example do we want to set for our rangatahi, that rape is okay? Martin Luther King Jr. once said that the greatest tragedy “is not the glaring noisiness of the so-called bad people, but the appalling silence of the so-called good people.” So what tikanga do you want to leave as a legacy for our youth? What message do you want to portray to women, and what license are you giving to men? Intervene into this debacle, and hand MUMA and the Waipareira Trust the ultimatum.
Sounds harsh…but not as harsh as the comments made to the girl ‘Amy’:
“How free and easy are you kids these days?”
“Girls shouldn’t be drinking anyway, should they?”
“If they gave consent, than it’s not rape, right?”
I’m pretty sure women are tapu, am I right? If so, honour their mana wāhine and throw MUMA and Waipareira the ultimatum. A man’s mana is measured by his respect for women; no respect equates to no mana.
This is my wero.
From Te Kaituhi Lewis,