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No. 18 (May 1957)
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Towards a Welfare Programme

Last year. Mr C. M. Bennett, D.S.O., M.A., Dip.Ed., Dip.Soc.Sc., was appointed controller of Maori welfare. His first act was to write a long statement (if fully printed here, it would occupy almost an entire issue of Te Ao hou) describing what welfare officers should do and suggesting guiding principles for tribal committees and executives and other people who give their energies to improving the Maori lot. This long statement will shortly appear in print. It is well worth a detailed review in Te ao hou, so that the general public may know what the government now thinks about social work among the Maori people.

No tera tau nei ka whakaturia ko Hare Peneti hei tumaki mo te taha Toko i te ora o te Tari Maori. Ko tana mahi tuatahi tonu he tuhi i ona whakaaro ina te roa, mehemea ki te tuhia te katoa ka ki tonu tetahi putanga motuhake o Te Ao hou, mo nga mahi e tika ana ma ana apiha ara ma te katoa o te hunga kei te mahi ki te toko i te ora mo te iwi Maori.

Meake nei ka puta pukapuka nga korero a Hare Peneti, ka mutu ano ta Te ao hou i tenei wa he whakataki haere i te aronga o nga whakaaro o Te Kawanatanga mo nga mahi toko i te ora mo te iwi Maori.

 

WHAT SHOULD WE DO FIRST?

Many of us who have attended Maori gatherings have become accustomed to endless discussions but usually not very conclusive, because there is such a terrible amount to do. It is surprising how many Maoris do social work in one form of another; are on a committee, run a club, or have something to do with guiding and influencing young people who need a steadying hand. The influence of all these people is considerable; the steady progress and raising of standards that we see from year to year is to a large extent due to

 
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HE AHA RA TE MAHI TUATAHI MA TATOU?

Ko nga mea o tatou e haere auau ana ki nga huihuinga Maori kua taunga ki nga whakapuakitangi whakaaro o nga iwi, mo te iwi Maori o apopo, heoi ano ra he whakaputanga whakaaro kau. He tokomaha noa atu te hunga kei nga mahi toko i te ora, kei nga komiti marae, kei nga mahi whakahaere karapu mo te rangatahi me era tu mahi. Ko ianei nga mahi kaore noa iho e korerotia ana, engari ko ianei nga mahi kei te hiki i te Maori; ki te kore enei momo tangata tera e mate te Maori.

Ka huihui aua Maori kei te mahi i nga mahi toko i te ora ka whakapuaki i o ratou na whakaaro me a ratou na amuamu. Ehara i te mea he amuamu i runga i te whakaaro iho kaore he painga o a ratou mahi, kaore kei mohio iho e, kei te pai te haere a te iwi Maori.

Ka raha ra nga whakaaro o te tangata ki te kore e mohio iho me timata he mahi i whea; notemea kei te kaikatia kia oti te hubua noa iho o te mahi. Waihoki ko nga apiha toko i te ora he huhua a ratou na mahi a ia ra, ia ra kei te raparapa o ratou whakaaro me timata ra ki whea, me timata ra ki whea.

Ko ianei nga mahi, me nga whakaaro i te aroaro o Hare Peneti e takoto atu ana i tona ekenga mai ki tenei taumata. Ka whakaaro ia he pai ke te oti o etahi mahi ahakoa iti, i te raha o nga whakaaro ki te huhua noa iho o te mahi. Ka tikina e Hare ko nga mea e tika ana hei kaupapa mana.

KO TE KAUPAPA MAHI A TE TARI TOKO I TE ORA.

Kua waihangatia e Hare Peneti tana kaupapa mahi hei hiki i nga mahi toko i te ora i raro i te kupu manaaki a Te Minita Maori. He mea ata whiriwhiri taua kaupapa mahi. Kaore i whakaurua te katoa o ta te tangata e whakaaro ana hei painga mo te iwi, engari ia ko nga mea ano e tika ana. Kei te mahi tonu nga komiti a iwi me era tu ropu i a ratou na mahi kaore, he to kia whai i ta te Kawanatanga.

Ko ta te Kawanatanga he whai kia eke te Maori ki nga taumata e whai ake nei:–

(a) Kia whiwhi i te matauranga

(b) Kia whiwhi i nga mahi totika

(c) Kia whiwhi i te whare totika.

Ko ianei ra te tino kaupapa o te noho a te tangata i tenei ao. Ka eke te Maori ki enei taumata he hanga noa iho a muri atu, ara ia nona te Ao. Na konei ka whakaaro te Kawanatanga me penei he kaupapa mahi hei toko i te ora mo te iwi Maori.

KO TE MATAURANGA.

Ko te whakaako tamariki kei nga mahita. He tika tonu ra tenei, engari i etahi wa tera ano etahi ahuatanga penei i te ngaro ke i te kura, i te he o te noho a nga tamarki, e kore e taea e nga mahita te rongoa. Etahi kura ano ra penei me nga kura

 
 

their efforts. Without them, the Maori people would perhaps be in some real danger.

All these social workers, when they meet at huis, freely express their worries. This is not because they are really pessimistic about the future of their people; on the contrary, but if you spend a day with your fellows deciding how bad everything is, it gives you a fresh view of the urgency of the work you are doing.

It can be really unsettling however, if at the end of the day you are left with so many things in mind that need immediate remedy, that you don't know where to start; you do not know whether to collect April showers for newly born babies; talk confidentially to some of the boys in the Training Centre; circulate leaflets against the use of alcohol; organise a haka partv; learn to make piupius; start a children's training centre; or invite the Inspector of the Department of Agriculture to give a talk. These are all desirable objectives, and which is better than the other?

It is a hard question to answer, particularly for the many voluntary people without whom nothing could succeed. Professional Maori welfare workers also have problems of their own: they have to decide whether they should travel fifty miles to try and revive a tribal committee which has been dying for two years, or forget about the committee and concentrate on individuals who have to be visited and talked to by themselves. They have to decide whether they can help those people best by private conversation or by the tonic of a Maori meeting.

Of course, you can only really decide what is best by looking each time at the circumstances. But is there some general principle by which people can be guided?

This is the question Mr Bennett tried to answer in his recent statement. He started with a very important principle. We must limit our objectives. It is no good to follow a list of twenty-nine aims and objects which could be achieved by a battalion if we only have a platoon. In planning our work, we should choose those spheres of life on which the general social and economic progress of the Maori people most depends.

THE WELFARE PROGRAMME:

Mr Bennett, with the full agreement of the Minister of Maori Affairs, has made a list of what he regards as the main objectives of Maori social work. This list of course does not include every-thing that is worthwhile in life; if it did, there would be no end to the exciting and satisfying activities that could be mentioned. Furthermore, voluntary organisations such as welfare leagues, youth clubs, and even tribal committees, are by no means expected to change their ideas to conform with the government list. We must have variety and if each group concentrates on its own small workable list of worthwhile objectives, then the Maori race will still prosper.

 
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Maori e takataka auau ana nga mahita i waenganui o nga matua ka taea e ia te korero atu ki a ratou nga makenu o nga tamariki.

Ka haere nga tamariki ki nga kura o runga ki te wahi uaua ake nga mahi a e roa ana te ra, ka piki ake hoki nga uauatanga.

Kei nga apiha toko i te ora etahi awhina. Ma ratou e haere hei takawaenga i nga komiti, i nga ropu o nga matua me nga kura. Kei a ratou etahi awhina penei me te awhina a Te Tari Maori ki te tapiri i nga moni e kohia ana e nga komiti-a-iwi hei awhina i nga matua ki te tuku i a ratou tamariki ki nga kura.

Ka whakapau nga komiti i o ratou kaha kia mohio iho ai nga tamariki kei te kaha o ratou matua kia whiwhi ratou i tetahi o nga tino taonga kei tenei ao i te matauranga. Ma te mahi tahi o nga komiti whakahaere i nga kura me nga mahi toko i te ora ka taea te whakamahea nga uauatanga penei me to pangia o nga tamariki e te mate, te ngaro poko noa i te kura, te kore moni me era atu mea.

Ko ta nga apiha toko i te ora he takawaenga mo te katoa o nga komiti.

KO TE WHAKANOHONOHO KI NGA MAHI ME TE WHAI WHARE

He aha te Maori i aro ake ai ki te whai i te matauranga? He ai hoki ki te korero a Peneti “E tika ana kia horapa te Maori ki nga mahi katoa.” Ara ia mehemea e tika ana te Maori hei takuta he aha i waiho ai ki nga mahi a ringa. Otira he tokomaha o te Maori kei te penei. Kei te he ra tenei ki te kore e tutuki nga Maori pai o ratou na hinengaro ki nga taumata e rite ana, ka pohara te Maori i te takuta me era tu tangata. E piki nui ai te Maori ki enei taumata me whakapai te noho a nga matua.

Ka nui te mahi ma nga komiti me nga apiha toko i te ora ke te taha whare mo te iwi Maori. Ma ratou e tirotiro te ahua o te noho a te tangata, a ma ratou e whakamarama ki nga mea kei te noho he nga huarahi e whiwhi ai ki nga awhina whare.

He aha ra te Kawanatanga i hone ai i enei kaupapa e toru hei arawhata mo te iwi Moari i te matauranga, i te whai whare, i te whai mahi totika. Kei te awangawanga etahi ki te tokomaha rawa o te Maori kei te taka ki te he, kei te whakawaia e te waipiro, a me te matemate o te tamariki. He mea kore noaiho enei?

Ko te whakautu, ka piki te matauranga, ka pai te noho a te tangata i roto o ratou na whare, ka whiwhi i nga mahi totika ka ngaro enei tu makenu.

KO TE MAORITANGA:

Ka pehea hoki te Maoritanga? Ko ta te Tari Maori he pupuri i te ha o te Maoritanga. Ko ta nga apiha toko i te ora he awhina i te iwi Maori ki te manaaki i nga taonga o tona Maoritanga. Kei waenganui i te matotorutanga o te iwi Maori te tokomaha o nga apiha toko i te ora e noho ana, e takataka ana ma ratou e tirotiro haere nga

 
 

Nonetheless, the new welfare policy guides activities of Maori Welfare Officers and it is there fore bound to influence deeply much social work among the Maori people.

The government programme regards as most urgent the need to see that young Maoris are

(a) well educated

(b) placed in good jobs, and

(c) well housed.

These are basic essentials for a happy life under the conditions of today. Also, if we can achieve these three aims, the other special problems of the Maori people will be solved far more easily. For that reason the government has decided to place these needs above all others. This is not of course to the exclusion of cultural and other work with Maori groups.

Some people may ask why we need social workers to achieve aims such as these. Why can't we leave the job to school-teachers, employers and housing officers?

EDUCATION:

In education, naturally the job of teaching the children at school is the teacher's. Yet he may find that some of his pupils do not progress according to their intelligence, that they could learn more than they do and are in danger of fore-going their place in modern society because of troubles outside his control. Perhaps it is weariness, irregularity, poor homework, or bad health. He realises that these things are not the fault of the child, nor entirely the fault of the parents but by himself he can do little to help.

The difficulties increase when children go to high school where the standards are so much higher, and the school day often very long.

Where children go to Maori schools, the teachers often know the Maori community very well. There is close contact between them and the parents and elders. Often some of the parents take a very active interest in the school welfare and contribute generously to the upkeep of grounds and installing of new facilities. This is less common where Maoris go to European schools and high schools.

Social workers can ensure that the links between school and community become closer, and this can be done specifically through school committees, Parent-Teacher Associations, inducing parents to take an interest in school affairs, and also through full use of the educational subsidy scheme operated by the Department of Maori Affairs.

The purpose of such community work is to show the children in a practical way the high value the community attaches to education.

A welfare officer's task will be to attend to difficult cases, and to help local Maori organisations plan their educational work.

EMPLOYMENT AND HOUSING:

Why should the raising of educational standards be the concern of Maori communities? In Mr

 
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ropu kei te whakaakoako i nga mahi Maori. Kua whakahaua hoki me anga ratou ki te whakahauhau haere i nga ropu penei.

Ka kite ai koutou he tini noa atu nga mahi a nga apiha toko i te ora. Otira ko ta ratou tino mahi i raro i te kaupapa hou he whakapakari i nga tangata takitahi, ki te hanga whare, ki te whakawhiwhi i nga tamariki ki nga mahi totika, ki nga kura nunui ranei. Ka pakari te tangata takitahi ka pakari te iwi Maori katoa.

Picture icon

Mr Charles Moihi Bennett, Controller of Maori Welfare, is due to leave for a two year study period in England next July. (NPS PHOTOGRAPH)

 

Bennett's words, there is a ‘need for an even spread of talent throughout the length of the occupational ladder’. If a man has enough intelligence to become a doctor, he should not be a factory worker.

The community and the social worker can encourage the education of Maori children according to their abilities and placement in jobs worthy of their education. Welfare officers can help with advice and will in future be expected to place a number of young Maoris in skilled jobs or further education each year. If any financial or accommodation problems arise, help will be given where possible and contact with the cases will be maintained.

In housing work, too, there is a place for the social worker to survey an area and see which people most need houses, and to encourage and advise future housing clients.

Why does the Government choose education, housing and placement as the three main concerns of Maori welfare? Many people are disturbed about the Maori crime rate, the drink problem and infant mortality. Are these problems less important?

The answer is that among a well-educated, well-housed people in good jobs, crime, drunkenness and infant mortality will tend to decline; the whole of life will be affected by the changes, and the new conditions will by themselves do what a great deal of social work might otherwise never effect.

MAORI CULTURE:

And what about Maori culture? It is the department's stated aim ‘to help develop in the Maori an appreciation of the modern content of his own culture.’ The value of the culture itself would amply justify such a policy. However, from the social workers’ point of view, cultural appreciation is also desirable because people should not be in conflict wth their own racial background. The study of Maori culture gives not only pleasure but also security.

Maori welfare officers are the only large section of public servants who spend a good part of their time doing work with groups: 40% of their time is intended to be spent on this. Here the purpose is twofold; the preservation of Maori culture and the speeding up of social and economic progress. Special emphasis is placed on the formation and guidance of youth clubs, and tribal committees and executives and Maori women's welfare leagues are to get continued help in their work.

To succeed, such groups have to find a creative and satisfying job to do, and have to be given the knowledge to carry out that job. By group discussion and by short refresher courses where desired. Welfare is to encourage their progress.

Naturally, welfare officers could not do their job if they spent all their time with these groups. In the end, it is always the individual who has to be helped to build a house, place his boy in a trade, or send him to the university.

Nonetheless, the Welfare Division, under its new policy, should be able to do a good deal to ‘mobilise the leadership from within the Maori race itself’. Over the last ten years a huge tribal committee and league organisation involving several thousands of people has been set up and this organisation is inspired by fine ideals.

There is of course a point beyond which efficiency should not go in group organisations. That is the point where enthusiasm and drive are lost through a mere excess of new ideas. However, traditional Maori wisdom should be ample proof against such danger.