May 17, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Flavell on Suicide | Morgan Godfery

2 min read

Monstrous comments from Te Ururoa Flavell. From the NZ Herald:

A Maori Party MP has suggested that children who take their own lives should be condemned rather than have their life celebrated – a call slammed as “absolutely disgusting” by a mother whose child took his life.

In a controversial column in Rotorua’s Daily Post newspaper, Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell suggested a “very hard stand” should be made on suicide.

“If a child commits suicide, let us consider not celebrating their lives on our marae; perhaps bury them at the entrance of the cemetery so their deaths will be condemned by the people,” he wrote.

“In doing these things, it demonstrates the depth of disgust the people have with this. Yes it is a hard stance, but what else can we do?”

Suicide should be condemned, but Te Ururoas suggestion will only compound the pain suicides causes. Punishing the family will not, repeat will not, deter suicide. Suicide is a selfish choice, and by definition, a choice made by the victim and inflicted by the victim. Very rarely do assisted suicides occur, but when they do the response from our criminal justice system is adequate. There is no need to assault the families with cultural shame.

Burying suicide victims at the entrance of the urupa will cause massive shame for the whanau and that shame will continue throughout numerous generations. Denying suicide victims tangi, which was another one of Te Ururoas suggestions, will prevent whanau from finding closure and compound the emotional trauma.

Te Ururoa is really scrapping the bottom of the barrel. Yes, no one likes suicide and everyone wants to respond. But this sort of response will not feature in the minds of potential suicide victims. Suicide victims think of the here and now, their ability to foresee consequences or feel and demonstrate empathy is limited.

Politically speaking, Te Ururoa may be reflecting popular opinion. The suggestion that suicide victims not receive tangi is common. There is a desire to shame the family. I am unsure whether or not this is truly in line with tikanga Maori or a remnant of the sort of Christian thinking that has influenced Maori practise. I am not qualified to say

We need representatives with fresh minds, not representatives recycling poor ideas from a time gone by.

7 thoughts on “Flavell on Suicide | Morgan Godfery

  1. I tautoko comments expressed by Te Ururoa. I will go so far as to say that whanau need to own the outcome, they need to take responsibility and look inside themselves when a loved one takes their own life and ask “why did we not intervene when we noticed behaviour changes”. It is life we should celebrate not death.

  2. Hemi Rau is a GUILTY Traitor! In the old days he would have been beheaded for these crimes against the KINGSHIP. Tainui dont want him so hes pushing his Tau iwi kaupapa in Otakanini Ngati Whatua. Hemi Rau is Tau Iwi orientated and cares only for MONEY. The people are irrelevent and he will spend every cent he can get his hand on, in the courts to further his GREED motivated Ideology. It is great the Tuku Morgan is a strong man and was not phased by the blind greed that Hemi Rau was trying to impose upon Tainui.
    I worry for the future of our Whanau and Whenua in the Kaipara ki te Tonga Rohe.
    Ngati Whatua ki Kaipara is under seige with this Bull head Hemi Rau at the Helm, Current Chairman of the Otakanini Topu incorporation. He has bought all his Tainui Commercial contacts such as MIGHTY RIVER POWER and railroaded all these windmills with basic to no consultation with the people. We have no resource such as Tainui, to Take this clown to court and make him accoutable. Help us Tuku Morgan, you know his colours. Investigate MIGHTY RIVER cause they are in his pocket, We are doomed without yous!! If he is like this with his fathers people TAINUI! Please spare US, His MOTHERS people, Ngati Whatua tuturu

  3. there are many reasons for people taking their own life. What about some one who is say an incapacitated invalid on life support when is it alright for them to take their life? A person with a severe men tal illness?
    Are cigarette smokers committing slow suicide?
    If then we start making distinctions where do we draw the line for condemnation?
    We are all here for a set time in te Ao marama. Each minute is precious. For those people that commit suicide that is their time as ours too will pass.
    Some suicides maybe prevented if we start to put more emphasis on nga tangata, whanau and aroha over money.
    Thats all we can say.
    However people die they only ever deserve our love.

  4. I see tikanga as “ka tika” – general agreement on what is right, not as something imposed from outside and I’m OK with it being flexible to suit different circumstances.

    What I’m not happy with is anyone else, particularly politicians telling us how and where to bury our dead. That’s whanau business, not anyone else’s. Butt out, Te Ururoa.

  5. It has been said on many occasions that Maori is spiritually inclined.
    when we stand at the court yards of many marae, there are utterings that pay respect to loved ones who have passed on, most of whom are understood to have returned to places commonly referred to as Ha-wai-ki.
    The very mention of such a place relates to the origins of Maori /mankind where IOIO is the giver of Life. Suicide on the other hand, is opposite to mauri ora and is considered to be seperate to the pathway leading back to the breath or Waiora. Since IOIO is the author of Mauri Ora. Te aroha, whakawhanaungatanga and Te Kotahitanga are principles that IOIO has imparted for Maori to embrace, upon which you can liken unto TE KOROWAI.

    Realistically, Modern Maori do not look into the width or depth of their whare tipuna where IOIO resides but do however look and try to understand what their Maori Prophets left for Te uru Whakatipu to discern. GOOD or BAD each of us possess a Soul and a Physical body that
    is FREE to Seek out THE HEART’S DESIRE or WORLDLY Treasures. STILL the gateway/doorway remains open to embrace the inflicted and those who look forward to their return to their Whare Tipuna and whanau. This is not Politics, it is not what man makes it out to be. It is Not
    Worldly, It is Our Spiritual Connection,Despite All Adversities and Pain Where Te Aroha, Rangimarie,Kotahitanga embraces and comforts all

    1. I’m a little confused sorry Pakiaka. My understanding was that we are sent to be born into an iwi, hapu, whanau because Te Atua and our Tupuna want us to be born there. If we choose to take our life then the old people believed we were showing disregard for what was put in place and also for our whanau here etc.We had a ‘reason’ for being sent here. I understand that belief. In old times our young ones had a purpose, and support around them and meaningful work to do and their tikanga. Today’s world is so different. So many young M?ori are without 1 or all of those things and then you have to add in drugs, mental illness, alcohol etc. So, in today’s world I don’t know that those things are still relevant? or that Te Atua and our Tupuna expect the same of us. I don’t believe my Tupuna would want our loved ones treated this way now. (Just my thoughts)

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