Sunday, 10 November 2013

Speech by Naida Glavish at NZFMC Meeting hosted by TMC at Te Poho O Rawiri

Speech for NZ Multicultural Council AGM Hui on Domestic Violence There is no doubt domestic violence is a global issue. The head of the End Domestic Violence Global Foundation, Baroness Scotland says domestic violence occurs across the globe, affecting millions of people across society, irrespective of economic status. No country or community is untouched.” You will all no doubt be aware of the magnitude of the problem, and to define its enormity today is a little bit like stating the obvious. However I believe it is still worth noting the significance of the issue. According to the United Nations' Secretary General's campaign, UNiTE to End Violence against Women, on average, at least one in three women is beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused by an intimate partner in the course of her lifetime. World Bank statistics show among women aged between 15 and 44, acts of violence cause more instances of death and disability than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents and war combined. Half of all women who die from homicide are killed by a current or former partner. There is a strong likelihood that someone you know has been the victim of domestic violence in their lifetime. Our challenge with domestic violence is that it is so often covert. It is sly. It is hidden. It is covered up. It is denied, excused, diminished, ignored. There are times when culture is used as a justification, or stress, or some other circumstance of life. The question is: How do we all allow this to be acceptable in any form? What is it that allows us to justify the loss of control, the absence of love that it takes to perpetrate violence? And especially on those we would purport to be the ones we are closest to, the ones we purport to love, to share our intimate lives with? From a Maori world view, Te Ao Maori, it is clear to me that there is a direct correlation between domestic violence and a lack of self awareness and self fulfilment. The lack of self awareness manifests itself as a disconnection, powerlessness and lack of self control. The contributors to it are multiple, and it would be very short sighted for me or anyone else to suggest that there is just one simple solution to domestic violence. To try and find something to blame, such as financial issues, is dangerous territory because it can become simply an excuse for inexcusable behaviour. As I prepared for this talk, I thought what can I offer you all? What can I offer that might tell you something you don’t already know? What can I offer as a pathway to assist in solutions to the incidence of domestic violence ? It was a daunting thought, as at times this issue can appear overwhelming and without immediate solution. So I thought the best I can do is simply to offer some insights from my work in leadership for Maori. And some insights about the potential for us as a people to reclaim elements of our culture that can contribute to a growth in self awareness, that it turn can lead to less abuse of power over others than can descend into violence. For it is also the perception of a loss of power that triggers violence. I believe that one of the greatest issues of our times is the conflict between the needs of the individual versus the needs of the group; be that a family, a community, a work place or society in a wider sense. For the last couple of centuries, the rise of a focus on the needs and wants of the individual rather than the group has been paramount. And on one level this was perhaps necessary to empower people who may have been subjugated by the group in power, whether that was religious, political or economic. Individuals in recent times have achieved great things from the freedom to stand out from the thoughts and actions of the group. But along the way, as we allowed more and more for the rights and needs of the individual, we lost something. At the same time, power and wealth inequity has increased. We lost a sense of belonging. We lost a sense of commitment. We lost a sense of self in relation to the rest of the group. We ultimately lost a sense of service to others. For us as Maori, this sense of loss has been more recent. We still hold dear, and in fact it is in our very DNA, to think of the group, of the family, of the community ahead of oneself and one’s own needs. We have the wonderful practice of Manaakitanga, that is about service to others. This has not made us immune from disconnection, and in fact there is now a disconnection from our cultural practices of Manaakitanga and a number of western traditions that place importance on the rights and needs of the individual. And in this place of disconnection, violence occurs. Increasingly, it is said that to be of service to others is the ultimate expression of leadership and of fulfilment as an individual. However this theory is often falling short of the practice. I believe it is in the pursuit of self-less service that we can start to change some of the selfish acts of domestic violence that we see. There is much healing to be done. And this is not going to happen overnight. Although domestic violence is clearly not simply just an issue of gender, we must acknowledge the perpetrators are most frequently men. And the role of men in our societies has changed a great deal, as the rights of women have been asserted, and the traditional role of breadwinner, and provider have diminished. For many men, this has equated to a perceived loss of power. And they have compensated in wholly inappropriate ways. We need to work to redefine our roles as contributors, both men and women, to a greater whole. We need to enable all to reconnect to a place of spiritual wellbeing, of unconditional love, sourced in connection to people and planet, both in nature around us and the nature of each other. We need to shift the focus on the importance of material things to the values of people and their self expression and wellbeing. Sadly, our media is saturated with imagery that focuses on acquiring possessions and material wealth, and images that denigrate women and depict us also as material objects. We have to fight to diminish these representations that fuel disconnection and violence. We have to strive towards inner peace and wellbeing and a personal inner power that diminishes anger, frustration and the need to strike out, both physically and psychologically. In New Zealand we live in a beautiful country. Wilderness, forests and coasts are never far away. As Maori we have an intimate connection with the land and sea. These are places of nourishment, not only in terms of food but also for our souls. We are a country where people from all over the global have come often to seek refuge from violence and disconnection in countries and societies that have broken down. We have a wonderful opportunity to build a society here that does not replicate the mistakes of the rest of the world. Sadly at times we do just that; repeat the errors. But I still firmly believe we can rise above this, and own that which is unique to this country, as a melting pot of cultures. We have an opportunity to draw on the best of these cultures and seek connections. We can use the ancient models from Te Ao Maori for living with people, living with the land in balance as something to underpin our connections to one another. If we strip every indigenous culture back to its essence, we all care about the same things. There are similar patterns in all our mythologies, our stories, our histories and our values. We all hold dear the values of caring for people, caring for our families and our societies. For me it makes sense to look first to an indigenous culture to set a context for other cultures, to build a mutual respect. Our journey to reconnect with who we are and where we are from can be a touchstone for all cultures. I believe increasingly that we must stop talking about a ‘mainstream’ culture and look to a collection of diverse cultures. For what is a ‘mainstream’ culture other than something homogenised, often to suit those with agendas regarding material gain, who wish to see us all as consumers lumped together for purposes of control or manipulation. As a Maori leader, I am hard-wired to offer manaaki, hospitality to all, regardless of social status, ethnicity, gender or what ever difference. The answers to a creating a civil society and one where domestic violence will no longer be tolerated in any shape or form is going to be about acceptance of difference; difference of opinion, difference of gender, difference of culture. And not viewing difference as a threat, as a compromise or as a weakening of personal power. Through all of our diverse cultures, we can build a mutual respect, and connect around those values in life that all humanity holds in common. There is a popular whakatauki or proverb from Te Reo Maori you may have heard, but perhaps not heard in full. Hutia te rito o te harakeke, Kei whea te komako e koe? Ki mai ki ahau; He ana te mea nui o te Ao? Maku e ki atu, He tangata, he tangata, he tangata. If the heart of the harekeke (flaxbush) was removed, where would the bellbird sing? If he was asked what was the most important thing in the world’ I would be compelled to reply, It is people, it is people, it is people. The proverb reflects the Maori reference to the harakeke plant as a whanau or family group. The outer leaves are the tupuna (ancesters); the inner leaves are the matua (parents); the most inner leave is the rito or pepe(baby). Only the tupuna are cut for harvesting as the matua are left to protect the pepe. The proverb reflects that without the sound of children in the world (the next generations) mankind will not survive. It is not a long stretch to suggest that it is this sort of thinking that saved the human race from extinction. We need to heed this advice, we need to honour it, and to honour those in our society that are perceived to be at the margins, or in weaker positions than some others, whether that be through gender, age, ethnicity, disability or any other difference. It is a privilege to speak to you all today, knowing that you all have a commitment to furthering the ability for many cultures to be self expressed and self fulfilled, and to strive for a peaceful and harmonious society, one where violence of any form is abhorred.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Nau Mai Piki Mai Newsletter of NZFMC

Please enjoy reading the national newsletter which has content about our work in Tairawhiti

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Pacific Island Homework Support Program

Kia Ora Everyone Tomorrow evening from 6pm to 8pm at the weekly Pacific Islands homework support programme at EIT Tairawhiti Campus; we will be having Pizza shout for the students and their families. We will be putting on light supper for students, volunteers and families. Please do come along and celebrate 9 weeks of this programme(one whole term) Could not have been possible without dedication of people such as Lillian, Sue, Tiana, Maria,Manu, John, Vijen, Karen, Valerie, Ivan and many others Thanks Arish

Tairawhiti to host National Meeting of Multicultural Councils

NZFMC National Council Meeting - Gisborne The next national council meeting of NZFMC will be held in Gisborne from Friday 8th November 2013 to Sunday 10th November 2013 at the Te Poho O Rawiri Marae, Kaiti Gisborne This meeting will be hosted by Tarawhiti Multicultural Council For further information, please contact: NZFMC Secretary Alexis Lewgor National Secretary: Alexis LewGor PH: (07) 348-1762 MOBILE: 029-773-0269 EMAIL: or President Tayo Agunlejika Phone: 04 916 9177 or 021 029 55148 EMAIL: For local enquiries please contact President, Arish Naresh or Secretary Hans Van Kregten at

Friday, 20 September 2013

Tairawhiti Interfaith Network Messages

At our monthly meeting the Interfaith group has decided to hold prayer meetings for the Week of Prayer for World Peace 13th – 20th of October. Tuesday October 15th, - 12:15 7 Victoria Street, 7th Day Adventist Church Wednesday October 16th, 1:00 – 1:30 Holy Trinity Church, Derby Street Thursday October 17th, 12:15 Botanical Gardens (meet at the Australian Gardens Roebuck Road end of the Park) Come along and join us in prayers for the peace of the world. We will be using the pamphlet and your personal thoughts and Prayers/Scriptural readings. Bob Hughes has agreed to write an article for the paper on our plans for that week. We hope that you will be able to participate in this event. John Giffin

MEDIA RELEASE 20/09/2013

TAIRAWHITI MULTICULTURAL COUNCIL MEDIA RELEASE 20/09/13 DIVERSITY IS AN ASSET TO TAIRĀWHITI Local body election candidates have been quizzed by the newly formed Tairawhiti Multicultural Council about their views on cultural diversity. Council Chairman Arish Naresh says that all candidates are open to different ethnicities living in Tairawhiti. This is great. “The many cultures present in Tairawhiti add to the social, cultural and economic capital of this region and should be celebrated.” The responses of some candidates, such as Manu Caddie and Selwyn Parata reflected their involvement with multicultural communities and contained more detailed views on the benefits and issues of multiculturalism.” The survey showed that most candidates were open to dialogue regarding establishment of support for cultural groups. Brian Wilson suggested that greater engagement is needed with ethnic communities. Rehette Stoltz’s suggested the need for a “go to organisation” such as TMC for new migrants to create linkages with settled migrants. Arish Naresh says that this is one task the Tairawhiti Multicultural Council is keen to take on, but it would need resources to deliver this. Many candidates mentioned having different cultural dishes as part of celebrating diversity. “Culinary diversity adds spice to life, but the benefits of multiculturalism goes beyond food and dances”, Arish Naresh says. Migrants across New Zealand contribute greatly to economic growth of New Zealand. It provides local communities with global perspectives and contacts, which provides potential economic capital. In Tairawhiti and nationally many sectors of the economy including, hospitals and service industries rely heavily on the migrant workforce.” Many candidates have highlighted that there need to be more jobs to attract migrants to Gisborne. They also recognise there is a need for jobs for current migrants and locals. “The voters really would like to see an action plan on how jobs will be created not just for migrants but for people of all races, religions and cultures across Tairawhiti. A clear strategy to deliver jobs has not been provided by any candidate” Arish Naresh says. The Tairawhiti Multicultural Council does not believe in promoting any particular candidate. It is here to work with the people to achieve the best for everyone that live in our beautiful region. Detailed responses can be viewed at the Tairawhiti Multicultural Council’s website: For queries and clarifications contact: Arish Naresh- President Tairawhiti Multicultural Council Ph.: 0226248145 Email: