New leaders for tough times. Den welcomes "Mr O’Bama", and feels hopeful about Prime Minister John Key because of his rapport with the Maori Party. He provides a briefing for incoming Ministers, outlining problematics including infanticide, high rates of crime, and high unemployment. Den proposes that Aotearoa should move into the tackle with upcoming unemployment and use downtime to improve whanau lives. He reckons that if the Kiwis can win the Rugby League World Cup then taking a collegial approach across community and government could also deliver a positive outcome for the tribe of Nga Mokai.
Jesus Mary and Joseph its Christmas again. Den says his friend Jules Older wished him 'Happy Holidays' but he reckons the holiday should be given its full due. He thinks that the Holy Family would be demonised these days with a possibly delusional mother, itinerant father,and child of uncertain parentage. Den takes Garth McVicar to task over the Emery affair and gives the sole of his shoe to Chris Trotter for calling the Maori Party kupapa. He reckons too that MP Sua William Sio should opt for sign language, canvasses the BIM's to the Ministers of Maori Affairs and Social Development and waxes lyrical about Christmas with the whanau at Waiohiki. (3,230 words)
The Whanganui River wends its way through the lives of many people. For Den it has been the feature of the past month as he recalls some of its sons, Rangitihi Rangiwaiata Tahuparae MNZM, 'Tahu', and Gabe Tawhiti, separated both by time and type but linked by their mutual awa. Gabe was a street warrior, stabbed to death in Wellington. Then, as now, there was anger and hurt. The River elders encouraged redress through the law and a quest to find ways for healing and peace. The 'Gabe', a fiercely contested Black Power rugby league trophy, was the result. Den recounts the build up to the 2008 match up at Mamaku. Tahu was a tohunga knowledgeable both in ancient tribal lore and the protocols of Parliament and the Crown. He translated Winston Churchill's riposte to Hitler, when the latter said that he would wring England's neck like a chicken. Churchill reportedly said "Some neck, some chicken". Tahu's rendition was "Tama heihei, kaki maro" and Den reckons that stiff necked roosters, both sinners and saints, better get ready for difficult times. He shares thoughts from prison reformist Kim Workman, criminologist John Pratt and counter-terrorism expert Dr Pete Lentini, examines the issue of free market behaviours and our suppressive approach to those who dare to be different.
Portrait of the activist as a young man; Paulo Freire, Latin America liberation theology and reflective action; pro-social change, community action, personal responsibility, and making change yourself; criminalisation of gang membership, differential sentencing tariffs; Black Power, the UN, their Waitangi Treaty claim, and Moana Jackson — jurisprudence expert; negative expenditure in the criminal justice sector; growth of the Maori family and the gang environment; moving forward, becoming engaged, less alienated and less marginalised leading to the end of “gangism” through a natural and sustainable process in contrast with the present "make war" suppressive approach; turning your life around and second chance education; Maori volunteerism; the political use of the court of public opinion; James K Baxter – “Ballad of the Junkies and the Fuzz”, “Ballad of Calvary Street”; “Zion”.
Despite their Machiavellian crafts politicians demand presumption of innocence for themselves despite much ambiguity. The finance and investment sector is riddled with what seem to be shonky dealings yet remain kosher. One used a national icon, Colin Meads, to endorse themselves and propose that they are worthy vehicles of trust. It seems that moral panic, and prejudice-laden analysis of the behaviours of the poor and brown, has our politicians intending to attempt to overturn the test of the burden of proof and to reverse the presumption innocence for some castes in modern day Aotearoa. Sir Brian Lochore has called for an end to PCism and cited some curious behavioural examples of times when things were better. Denis invokes the spirit of his late brother, Laurie O’Reilly, and in challenging the great man asks what being PC really is. Is it Patently Crazy as in the case of Sheriff Arapiro? Is it Politically Compliant as in the case of the Labour Party in terms of being poll driven on criminal justice issues rather than the creed of social justice in line with their core philosophy? Or is it Politically Correct in that the implicit criminal justice policies of a majority of the parties and politicians are “lock ‘em up and keep locking them up”? Denis reports from the front line on progress with the Black Power, Darksiders and Full Blooded Islanders, and tells of action research with the Mongrel Mob Notorious chapter which suggests that gang mums and dads have pretty much the same aspirations for their kids as do mainstream Kiwis. A little bit of reggae korero about Three Houses Down, House of Shem and Ragamuffin 09.
Friends and whanau of friends pass into the long night: Tam Wong Shi, Joe Dread and Paris Magdalinos. A cross-cultural hari-mate at Waiohiki, Jacob Scott and Para Matchitt provide sculptures, Jimmy Baxter and Aeschylus the words. Denis reviews Te Wiki o Te Reo Maori and likes what he hears. Asian apprehension about crime unleashes the fury of the tiger and Mr Low invokes the threat of the Triads. Baroness Vivien Stern claims NZ is creating criminals by redefining problems of poverty as problems of crime. Denis believes we need to forget about tougher sentences and rethink the destination and application of our "justice dollars". Winter solstice means time for planting and maybe some early crops, but like the outcomes of our community action, "ma te wa", we'll wait and see.
There is a sense of disquiet in Aotearoa and the nation is on edge over a spike in gang violence and series of vicious assaults and murders. Communities are crying ‘enough is enough’ and are looking to Government for action. Ombudsman Mel Smith says rational debate in the sector is almost impossible. Denis reviews what’s going in England and suggests following the ‘customer conscious’ approach. While sewage continues to pump into Hawke’s Bay the visual pollution of graffiti has the chattering classes all a twitter. New ideas that take into account the psychology of the perpetrator are required. Heavy thinking about behavioural economics and the concept of Libertarian Paternalism. Otatara a "Must-do" and frontline feedback from the 'Enough is enough' march, Maatariki feasting and a little whiskey .
A review of good work in South Auckland with previously warring groups; the system’s dilemma of how to react to pro-social gang leaders; coping with the tough times when things go wrong (stick to the kaupapa and say your karakia); big inflow of P-related product threatening to wipe out progress of demand reduction strategies overnight; ANZAC has become a day of national unity; Maori and Pakeha seem to get on better when at war than when at peace; Napier Pilot City Trust works on this with Unity Week and builds the Robson Collection as a resource for building communities rather than prisons in a time when our numbers have doubled in 20 years; Governor General Anand Satyanand gives the Robson Lecture on the history of capital punishment and pays respects to community volunteers; a 93rd birthday for Helen Mason.
In a crowded and diverse Easter calendar on the edge Den encounters suicide and resists a presiding churchman’s self-righteousness “with a quiver of arrows, sharpened arguments based on familiarity with biblical text”. He presents another Hui & Huilli for St Paddy’s Day, celebrating two rebel cultures, before contemporaneously facilitating a community arts festival and a Black Power hui, then visiting Ngati Dread in Ruatoria to confirm the roots of reggae and Rasta in Aotearoa.
Denis notes the cycle of life as he gathers together the memories of those who have recently passed, Sir Ed Hillary, Hone Tuwhare, Shirley Smith, Del Adams, Ben Dalton Snr. Then it’s on to life in Aotearoa New Zealand with the Waitangi Day furore over gangs on marae, Shane Jones badmouthing Josh Masters of the Tribesmen and Killer Beez, and the Government's get tough on graffiti intentions means it must be election time. Musical notes around Warren Maxwell, Don McGlashan and the Ragamuffin festival; and grave concerns over body snatching "a new twist on the consequences of miscegany". Read on.