On the 19th March, Stella, Khylee, Katey and Dave met with Dame Naida Glavish (Ngāti Whātua) and Riki Nia Nia (Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Kahungungu) to discuss the focus of our research and indicate our shared passion around mental health and the way the justice is often ill-defined, abused and negatively impacts Māori communities.
Dame Naida shared several whakataukī with us, and one stuck with us said by Taonui Aperahama of Ngā Puhi in 1834.
He taniwha kei te haere mai. He taniwha taikuhu, taihuna. E kore rawa koutou e kitea. Kia kitea rā ano i ngā koutou e kitea. Kia kitea rā anō i ngā kanohi ā ō mokopuna. Inā tae ki tēnā. Kaua e patua i ō mokopuna. Engari hi pokingia hi te korowai aroha ā te whanau. He māuiui kē ēna mea. Ehara mō ngā pirihimana kia mauherengia ai ā tatou mokopuna.
There is a demon on its way. It is a demon that will arrive stealthily. It is a demon that will arrive deviously. You will not even see it coming. You will not even know that it is here until you see it in the eyes of your mokopuna. Those things are an illness. It is not for the policemen to imprison our grandchildren.
And that demon is drugs.
So when you see the effect in the eyes of your mokopuna (grandchildren), do not punish them, instead clothe them with a korowai (cloak) of love. Those caught up by that demon belong to the mental health world, not prison.
The hui resulted in a taonga being gifted to us in the form of project title, which the rōpū were yet to devise. We settled on He Ture Kia Tika: Let the Law be Right.
We have agreed to keep Dame Naida and Riki informed of the project as part of our commitment to having ongoing involvement of Ngāti Whatua.