After the Hikoi – Where to from here?

It’s hard to believe that we are over six weeks on from the “Enough is Enough” Hikoi led by Henare O’Keefe. There is no doubt that the Hikoi created a major outpour from the community keen to put a stop to the senseless violence invading our streets. But six weeks on a number of people are starting to ask questions: What was it all for? What has come of it? Where to from here?

Fact of the matter is that the Hikoi indicated that the Flaxmere community were sick and tired of the violence. It was an outcry by a community prepared to consider some change. The problem is that unless there is pretty clear leadership following a rally such as this people who were willing to consider alternatives all too readily slip back into habits learnt over a lifetime.

As a result, a meeting has been called for Wednesday night the 20th of August, 7:00pm, at the Flaxmere Community Marae. The meeting has been called “After the Hikoi – Where to from here?”

The hui has resulted from a number of meetings that Craig Foss and I have held with Henare O’Keefe and police, since the Hikoi. The aim is to assist the community to consider options going forward. I mean it’s all very well to join in a march to say “Enough is Enough” but at the end of the day you actually need to do more than march. The community actually needs to change some things otherwise the words and speeches are just hollow.

Henare O’Keefe understands this loud and clear and he more than anyone wants to change some things. As a result we’ve been working on a plan for the community based around the Marae as the cornerstone. And there are some great ideas already planned to discuss on the 20th.

Like “Kaumatua Rocket Reading”… an initiative aimed at turning Flaxmere kids into some of the Bay’s best readers. This single initiative involves a book drive to establish a library on the Marae, a partnership with local schools, volunteer “Kaumatua” and one-on-one reading with children after school. Another initiative involves working with Police on a reinvigorated “Flaxmere Style” Neighbourhood Watch program where the community gets to know each other in small clusters and begins to look after each other on a more personal level.

The plan is very much a draft at this stage. It tries to put Henare’s vision on paper so that he is in a position to approach various Government and Community organisations to assist him in his mission. These initiatives will be presented at the meeting on the 20th. The aim is to give the community the opportunity to critique and add to these initial proposals. It’s also an opportunity to come up with additional initiatives which can be added to the plan either up front or over time.

There is also a further idea that will be introduced and canvassed on the night. And it’s this idea which I would now like to focus on and which I would value your input.

Flaxmere Sunday School”

Discussions with Henare, the police, and youth workers indicate that they believe there is a real need for an immediate response or consequence which helps to deal with the rising tide of youth offending. The concern is that the lack of an immediate consequence increases the chance that young ‘experimental’ offenders of today will too easily become the hardened criminals of tomorrow.

There are some solutions available through various legislation, but often the consequences are so far removed from the offence that children have difficulty making a connection between their actions and the consequence. Additional to this, the solutions often don’t lead to change in the child. What is being proposed here is an immediate consequence which seeks to impact in a positive way upon the offender.

The idea is called the “Flaxmere Sunday School” (FSS). Effectively it is a “Flaxmere Community Work Order”, worked at the Community Marae, which can be issued by both Flaxmere Community Police and Flaxmere Principals.

The Flaxmere Sunday School (FSS) would be similar to a speeding ticket with no conviction and no need to go to court.

The FSS is an order to serve a day’s community work or to attend a day’s community programme to be held at the Marae either on a Sunday or during school holidays. The focus would be on returning some value to the community for the offence committed.

The Orders would be issued under the auspices of a Flaxmere Community Board. This would consist of up to six people including a City Council representative, a Police representative, a Flaxmere Principal, plus three community representatives.

Young people in our community can drift into unacceptable behaviour. The FSS work order is designed to give 12 to 16 year olds a short, sharp, shock about their behaviour, without imposing a criminal record, but making sure their unacceptable actions have consequences.

Unacceptable behaviour would be defined by the Community Board, and could include: vandalism, shoplifting, fighting, tagging, truancy, etc. The Board’s role would also be to work closely with the Marae to ensure the “Sunday School” was delivered in a professional manner.

The Board would also decide the basic expectations from the Flaxmere Sunday School. Would the full day’s activity include healthy meals cooked by the attendees? Would it include a period of spiritual activities such as prayer/karakia/song and values? What work would be expected to be completed? What value would be returned to the community? Would there be a degree of challenge? Could some weekends include quite alternative programs like a hard walk to Sunrise Hut at the top of the Ruahines?

Ultimately an initiative such as this may require changes to Legislation to allow it to happen. However we believe it could be trialed in Flaxmere as long as there was total buy-in from parents, schools and police.

The Flaxmere Sunday School could provide a tool for nipping youth offending in the bud. It won’t provide a ‘magic bullet’ solution for those determined to become career criminals, but with some luck it could help turn youth crime experimenters from this path.

But there are a many steps to take before this idea could become a reality. In the first instance it would require community buy-in to the idea. Ultimately it may require a change to legislation.

Firstly though, I would like to seek the opinion of our Hawke’s Bay community. Do you think this is a good idea? Can you see any pitfalls we would need to negotiate?

The fastest and easiest way to respond is to complete this online survey we’ve prepared for you. Feel free to write in your own ideas and comments there as well.

Or, you can simply write to me care of: BayBuzz, PO Box 8322, Havelock North 4157.

Craig, Henare, Wayne Bradshaw and I will receive all responses. We’re interested in what you think about the idea of the “Flaxmere Sunday School.” So please let us hear from you.

Join the Conversation

8 Comments

  1. After Henare O'Keefe's hikoi against violence. And good on him for inniating it. Both National Party MP's Chris Tremain and Craig Foss ask where to from here? Well, going by the length of their epistle– I'll venture to raise my head above the parapits -and say that with the exception of some political sabre ratling populist rhetoric -unfortunately- absolutely nowhere.

    However, ideas like theirs must rank a 4 out of 10- more especially when coming from members of a National Party that has a firm policy to do away with all Maori seats in Parliament.

    Backed up with a National Party slogan of -one people -one country. Anyone could be foregiven for thinking it was election year! Yeah right!

  2. I look forward to seeing both Derek and David at the "After the Hikoi " meeting on Wednesday at 7pm.

    This is where the Community will have their say.

  3. yes Flaxmere on the 20th August 7pm will be a must for those good people,looking for positive solutions to support the many of our community not coping.

    There is enough background information from both Napier and Hastings, over the past 60 years, to move forward, not to reivent the wheel of retributieeve justice.

    Whe the press gives politicians, and the likes of Garth McVicar and his Sensible Sentencing trust, a platform to provide retributive answers to problems resuting in violence, and other social disruption. mainly caised by urbanisation colonalisation and assimilation

    At the end of the ongoing press "front Pagers", it is the community workers, with time to relate and support the crisis who provide the most positive answers to relieve social disruption.Unfortunately community workers are a soft option to any past or present N.Z government,especially when chain gangs, and boot camps are called for. Community Workers enjoy no longterm govt funding, a 3 year lottery grant if fortunate..-(There lies the problem of prioities, as no votes in soft options concerning law and order))

    Refer to Community Worker Tracey Courtney from DOVE,– a dozen Tracey Courtney let loose in Flaxmere,"for the long haul" to express love understanding ard respect with whanau will greatly assist this positive debate., "of how to spend the buck"

  4. Its seems very ironical to me that the very polictical party that has during my life time dismantled slowly but surely the worlds leading welfare state [put in place by a Labour Government after the depression] now has 2 of its members showing their faces at Flaxmere. Just like western medical practice that treats symptoms and not the diesese these wana be Governemnt MP’s just don’t get it. I have seen a number of their leaders and prominent ministers , Rob, Jenny, Ruth,Don etc, lead this country on a road to the place we find ourselves now -treating symptoms -more prisons – harsher sentences-no parole etc. Somehow I don’;t think treating people worse actually makes them behave better. Then the Likes of these National MPs and Garths mob want things like boot camps. Well excuse me these young people actually need love camps -they already been getting the boot; which is one of the reasons they act like they do.
    Then we feed them a diet of crap TV and crap fast food -chemicals -sugar etc and wonder why they behave the way they do.
    I beleive Pat McGill and people like him have some of the answers.
    Chris and Craig simply are doing what they have done for the last 4 years – campaigning. After all what were they doing in the community before they decided to take the Wellington Parliamentry ego trip?
    We only had two ‘rich’ streets in whole of the city I grew up in!
    Now everyone wants a flash house [and some actually have a second house at the beach] and all they toys. Indulgence. greed and consumerism are some of the causes of our community disease.
    Just last week their leader “John -hollow-man-Keys showed his true colours by again starting the attack on those less fortunate [& unable to defend themselves] in our community – those on the DBP, and other benefits. Its seems his system relies on winners and losers, sorry Guys as much as Chris and Craig might have genuine concerns for thier communities they are riding the wrong horse. Its called Natnag

  5. Seems to me the best way to solve current issues is to get involved and try an find a mutually acceptable way forward. Too many of the prior comments here focus on past pet peeves. Why not put effort into being positive, as it is easy to sit behind a keyboard listing ways and whys of initiatives not working. Contribute and see if that makes a difference.

  6. Congratulations for suggesting 'Kaumatua Rocket Reading'. The thought of one to one reading to children after school at the Marae helps fuel my passion for helping children become literate. Not only would the experience of being 'read to' help literacy levels but the opportunity for the young people to have conversations with adults may give all parties a deeper understanding of each other.

    We have over 80 mature adults visiting schools in Napier discussing the stories they read to children. It is a very exciting prospect to imagine this happening on a Marae. Don't wait for books to be given. Hire them from the public library.

  7. Tom: Women make up over 50 per cent of the population but only 10 per cent (2) of your last 20 Guest Buzzmaker postings are from women. Can we hear from some more female Buzzmakers please?

  8. After the Hiko: Where to ?

    Flaxmere Sunday School – Why not just send them to 'Sunday School' there are many wonderful churches in the Flaxmere and Hastings area. I believe they will achieve more than the programme you suggest/ alternatively 'please don't call it Flaxmere Sunday School', Drop the 'Sunday' in the name. Going to church to attend 'Sunday School' will be cost effective i.e. nil $$$ and one would get to know their neighbour hood and support within it. Send them to all the churches 'Sunday School'.

    Looking for funding: Money would be well spent doing research on all the programmes already funded within HB, many work with at risk youth. It is sad to hear of a local sucessful youth provider in Flaxmere who had to downsize their operations due to lack of funding. Why not build onto the success of such groups, best than re-inventing the wheel. Lets get behind all providers who contribute to the wellbeing and safety of Whanau, Haapu and Iwi.

    I attended the hui held at Te Aranga Marae. As my mahi involves working with the community our organisation recieved mixed feedback.

    Fully support the kaupapa, and good on Henare for initiating such a hui for our COMMUNITIES. Their needs to be emphasis on COMMUNITIES, don't just COMMUITY.

    Recent events; ie. Senior Gang members are not able to control the activities of their own members , in reference to the terrible violence that happened to our whanua in Bridge Pa,. At this family gathering there were individual gang members present, it is a sad day when they could not intervene to stop this violence as the perpertrators disregarded the wisdom given to 'stop' by their senior colleagues. How can the communities feel safe? –

    Good to hear that Lawrence Yule met with the Gangs, BUT has he met with all the victims? But he feels good, good on him if that is what makes him feel good. Feed back from a victims whanau, this doesn't make them feel good.

    Community members where hesitate to 'speak out', when I asked why? response was. 'Look who's here, they know us, we can't speak out. )they referred to gang members who where present.

    I then asked, what would you suggest. response: A hui for the victims and their whanau and their community, without those affiliated to the violence. They felt safe having the Police present, but still they were afraid to speak out. My personal thoughts, they had no opportunity to speak out, even if they wanted to., due to how the hui was structured.

    Henare, you said this is 'A political', how come the politicians present got the first opportunity to speak. Great opportunity 'huh'? Election time coming up. But this is 'A political', yeah right, make a good tui add. don't you think?

    sign off now,

    keep up the good work Henare and Des , and may the Lord continue to bless you with love health and energy to continue to spread the gospel.

    Frances

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