“He mokopuna he taonga.” Yes indeed, children are a treasure – wanted, valued, cherished, desired, prized. Far more so than any possession.
During the debate over the re-writing of Section 59 of the Crimes Act – the so-called ‘anti-smacking law’, which in reality has outlawed the family as an institution – the bill’s author, Sue Bradford, said she had come to the (shocking) conclusion that a lot of (shocking) parents actually believe that they own their children.
A very convenient way of slinging mud, of course, while completely ignoring the fact that a family’s belonging to each other is not a matter of chattel ownership but of fierce, protective loyalty. Laws supposedly intended to protect children from domestic abuse actually remove them from the sphere of the only people who ever can or will protect them.
Yet the Treaty of Waitangi, the founding document of our nation, guarantees to all New Zealanders absolute sovereignty over all of their taonga – of which our children are the chief.
I wonder if Sue Bradford ever read the Treaty.