Friday, August 21, 2009


Thank goodness Family Court Acting Head Judge Paul von Dadelszen called for gay, lesbian and unmarried couples to be allowed to adopt children.

My wife Nadine and I are affected by the ‘Adoption Act’ an outdated, discriminatory Act that breaches the Bill of Rights Act, the Human Rights Act and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

We have a beautiful little girl Manawa a whangai given to us at her birth by Nadine’s sister and her partner. Now 15 months old, our little bundle was named in recognition of the generosity and purity of kindness shown to us by her birth Mummy and Daddy. Such an overwhelmingly loving and unselfish an act any human could give others to express their love.

Even though Nadine and I are married under Civil Union, it means nothing because we are Lesbian. We are not recognised as a couple under this current Adoption Law and therefore only one of us can adopt Manawa.

Manawa has two brothers 9 and 7, both outstanding sports players like their birth Mummy Nadine. The boys spoil their little sister and she returns their love with gurgles, giggles, slaps, and tantrums. She is truly a princess.

Of course I didn’t realise the Adoption Act prevented joint adoption until Manawa was about 3 months old. I applied for an Adoption with Family Lawyer Ross France from South Auckland, who informed me of the Law. I immediately thought of the legal ramifications this would have for our little girl if anything happened to either myself or Nadine. If there was no joint-adoption our little princess would need to rely on her brother’s love and their moral sibling obligation to allow her access to our estate. Dare I say it – it’s also about ownership. Manawa will be our baby legally; Nadine and I will be in the eye’s of the law equal parents. If heaven forbid anything happens to us as a married couple both of us will be guaranteed access to our daughter. It’s crucial that this law is repealed on many levels.

As far as being a unit; we are a non-smoking, non-drinking whanau a decision Nadine and I made to ensure the kids are brought up in a clean, positive and optimistic environment. We are good parents, we don’t smack or bash the kids, and we don’t swing them on the clothesline or spin them in the drier. Nadine and I go to parent teacher hui, Nadine goes on class trips and she coaches their sport teams. We are good parents.

But no!

Bishop Peter Cullinane of Palmerston North says we’re not because we’re Lesbian.
Bishop Peter Cullinane of Palmerston North said heterosexual couples provided a more suitable way for a child to be raised. "The New Zealand Catholic bishops are concerned about the rights of the adult being given priority over the rights of the child in the current debate about whether the law should change to allow homosexual and de-facto couples to adopt children," he said.

Of course gays have heard all the nonsensical arguments thrown at us by the homophobes to discredit us as parents. According to top Maori gay-basher John Tamihere, “…the kids are more likely to experience deviant sex, more likely to become gay.” Statistics proves him wrong.

Good on Gay Green MP Kevin Hague who submitted the Act as a private member's bill proposing changes to the Law. It went into the ballot at Parliament yesterday and although it may not be drawn for some time, at least it’s there. Labour Party’s Justice spokeswoman Lianne Dalziel also supports same-sex adoptions and called for a complete overhaul of the Adoption Act.

Fingers crossed for all good gay whanau.


Good on brother Tau Henare blowing the whistle on ACT Leader Rodney Hide. The National Party list MP spilled the beans on Rod’s threats. The thing about Henare is that he is the government, unlike Rod who signed up to the governing party. So if John Key calls the bluff on the 1% poll pulling party leader – Henare will still be there governing. Remember Henare’s the one that stepped out Mallard a couple of years back after the Labour MP took offence to a sly personal comment.

In addition, Henare is an Aucklander from the West. He and his whanau have contributed to the community at flaxroots via kohanga and kura. Like all other Maori in Tamakimakaurau Henare has a vested interest in the City and its future.

So Henare has plenty of fight in him and so too do Maori.

This fight isn’t over until it’s over.

The issue of mana whenua seats is about money – big money. $28 billion of assets is at stake here and there’s no way Rod wants tangatawhenua snooping around those assets. What will happen if mana-whenua representatives oppose the privatisation of previously run council services, what happens if they oppose any port of Auckland developments? Mana whenua opposition will cost the Supercity minders billions of dollars of profit, money and assets that belong to the people.

Rod’s rejection of Maori seats is about money pure and simple.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


We have lost many practices associated with customary lore which involves the spiritual realm including Makutu and that’s because we’ve lost much of the knowledge regarding that part of our holistic being.

What we consider to be traditional is now so utterly entwined in post-colonial constructs like Christianity that much of the original essence has been watered down even lost. That’s not to say Makutu doesn’t exist any longer because it does.

Makutu is when physical and psychological harm is inflicted even death through spiritual powers, bewitching and spell casting. The actual practise of Makutu isn’t restricted to Maori many cultures around the world use this and it’s known by whatever name they call it.

The Moses case isn’t the first time Makutu has appeared in a New Zealand court either. Eleven years ago, Paul Martin claimed a Makutu made him attack a friend with a crucifix. The Judge gave him a suspended sentence. In 2001, Brian Aporo claimed he was under a Makutu before he slit the throats of his two children. He was found not guilty but was ruled insane.

There was also the bizarre Makutu of River Queen the Vincent Ward movie made on the Wanganui River in 2005. A local group of Maori announced in a local newspaper that they had placed a Makutu on the film project. The group claimed the filmmakers had violated the Wanganui River, the film's location. Whether it was a result of the Makutu, or not: everything that could have gone wrong with the production did. Its star, Samantha Morton, fell sick. Maori lead actor Cliff Curtis drove his 4WD through a house while texting on his mobile, Director Vincent Ward was fired and replaced by the cinematographer and the film suffered a magnificently huge budget blowout.

In this day and age it’s difficult to judge if one’s afflicted with a Makutu. Unless you know it’s actually been placed on you via, newspaper, text, phone, twitter or facebook, or if a Tohunga (a skilled expert) identifies you’re under the influence of one - the ailment one's suffering may be nothing more than a treatable mental psychoses brought about by the stress of modern day living.

The Moses whanau and their Kaumatua (elder), an Uncle thought Janet was under a Makutu because she stole a statue from a pub. It’s hard to believe that this whanau could have thought the slab of plaster was so tapu (sacred) to cause such grief.

How could they have got it so wrong?

How could they have continued to work on something as taumaha (as heavy) and tapu (sacred) as Makutu without heeding the advice of some pretty heavy weight Tohunga and Kaumatua. There are many Tohunga whose advice they could have sought and a couple of Kaumatua did counsel the whanau, but alas to no avail.

The Pakeha Judge Simon France sentenced the Moses whanau to community service including tikanga training. Pakeha may see this as such a light sentence and some Maori too probably. But I couldn’t think of anything more shameful quite frankly. For a Kaumatua, the patriarch, the leader, the man they looked up too and his whanau to be told by a Pakeha no less to go get better tikanga. Shameful.

This whanau isn’t like the Kahui or Curtis whanau both dysfunctional units who allowed or participated in the brutal killing of their babies. The Kahui and Curtis’ were dislocated from anything Maori. They didn’t participate in hui, Marae, Kohanga, they didn’t korero (speak) Maori. So when Maori Party members went in to see the Kahui whanau, the significance of their presence was totally lost on them. Stripping the Kahui and Curtis whanau of any mana would be a complete waste of time.

The Moses whanau however appear a different lot. I don’t know them but they seem very connected to each other and to taha (things) Maori. They will feel the full impact of the sentence. Attending a tikanga programme questions their mana and quite rightly so. They have been criticised for their naivety by known and reputable Tohunga (spiritual experts) and Kaumatua from iwi around the country. These criticisms as well will be heavy shackles of great spiritual burden that not only these five but also their extended whanau will carry for a long time to come.


So Labour MP Trevor Mallard thinks the whanau of five in the Janet Moses High Court case, escaped prison because they were Maori.

"I am certain that a Pakeha exorcism that resulted in torture and death would result in a prison term - albeit not necessarily a long one.

The fact that they weren’t sent to prison because they are Maori just doesn’t seem right to me."

He’s so wrong. The Moses whanau were lucky to have escaped jail given all the statistics regarding Maori and sentencing.

Relative to numbers in the general population, we Maori are over-represented at every stage of the criminal justice process. We are 12.5% of the general population aged 15 and over, but 42% of all criminal apprehensions are Maori. Our men make up 50% of prison numbers and sadly our women make up about 60% of the female prison population.

So no, this whanau didn’t get slapped with a by-pass-jail-because-you’re-tangatawhenua ticket.

But Mr Mallard likes to slap around the odd Maori. Remember a couple of years back in 2007 he cuffed Tau Henare after the National backbencher teased the then Cabinet Minister about his love-life. The boys took the argument outside, Mallard whacked Henare and the pair had to be prised apart.

A few years before that Mallard tried to pass himself off as tangatawhenua. In a speech he made as Race Relations Minister in 2004 he reckoned, "Maori and Pakeha are both indigenous people to New Zealand now.”I regard myself as an indigenous New Zealander – I come from Wainuiomata."

Yes Mr Mallard certainly is pro-Maori…yeah right!