Youth Welfare: How Fair?


15 August 2011

A group of Maori women are speaking out against the continual negative stigma that young people have to live with. They say this stigma is perpetuated again in the youth welfare initiatives announced by John Key over the weekend. The Maori women instead wish to highlight the shortcomings of the proposed youth initiatives. Spokesperson Marama Davidson says “We need to address the systemic failure of this and previous governments to create innovative policies and spaces where our youth are valued and successful within our communities.”

 Te Wharepora Hou, a mainly Auckland based group, says that rebuilding whānau and focusing on whānau strength is key, but the state has to take responsibility for the part it plays in structural barriers to wellbeing. The group says it should not be the role of the government to remove young parents’ freedom to make choices. It insists that a focus should be on initiatives that encourage young people to make healthy choices for themselves.

Te Wharepora Hou says that Maori young people and children will be disproportionately affected with the Government’s latest youth welfare initiatives. It supports wider calls for a sustainable job creation plan and a focus on building strong communities. Te Wharepora Hou also wants to see evidence of John Key’s suggested punitive approach having good outcomes anywhere else in the world.


  1. Marama Davidson 021 025 88302
  2. Mera Penehira 021 478194


Kohatu Groupie

Day 214 painted rock

This poem below was inspired by the work of Jo Tito. Jo declared that for every day in 2011, she would paint a rock a day for her creativity. This poem is released on day 214.




Kohatu Groupie
(By Marama Davidson)

She paints a rock a day for her creativity
And movement is born
From rocks, that are still

Kohatu groupies always waiting are we
Patiently, excitedly
Shamelessly for our fill

For every new day gifts a whole new surprise
What lines will she fly?
What colours? What size?

We delight in the kōrero too……………..

Each rock is enveloped by sweet dialogue
The whakaaro put up
Further tempts us along

It tempts to engage us, to ponder, to reflect
With kaupapa far ranging
Far reaching as you can get

Yet one of my favourite rocks
Came with no words
It simply sat, un-dialogued
But spoke so we all heard

Let us caution that word favourite

214 rocks have happened so far
214 rocks, each a star!

A star which is photographed
Painted and still
That photo uploaded for us all, for our thrill

The kohatu facebook groupie clicks ‘LIKE’
The Kohatu groupie
Observation will spike

From this observation I once questioned her lines…….

It seems our rock painter
Untrained she may be
Paints magnificent lines circles spirals – style free!

Free-style, free-hand
Whatever you call it
Uninhibited, uncolonised
You better believe it

Opportunities endLESS
She paints this, she tells this
It is Brilliance no less!

Sometimes a sweet rock
Becomes koha for you
For a birthday, a wedding
Or just cos it’s due

Rock korero
That heralds the whole world around us
Rock korero
To spotlight emotions
That de-ground us

It is korero that takes us to political reflection
It is korero that journeys community collaboration
It is about before life/after-death and in between
Yet there remains 151 flippin rocks for the year
To be seen!

Kohatu painter embarks on her waka
And says to us all
“Me haere, kia kaha”

Inspiring, uplifting, poise and dignity
You rock, rock painter…….
Were we all to be that free!

A simple small act of painting and sharing
Seeps into our minds, our souls and our caring

I patiently wait for the rock of tomorrow………


Please visit the Jo Tito’s facebook page where you can view all of her rocks in her albums. Any remaining rocks can be purchased just contact Jo via facebook:!/JoTito