Maori communities losing battle against liquor stores

Māori ‘up against it’ battling liquor store licensing in local communities
Radio NZ News 12 July 2021
Family First Comment: “A Māori warden who’s plied the streets of Ōtara for years, he said waipiro (alcoholism) and the proliferation of it has an outsize effect on Māori; nearly every whānau has a tale of the harms it’s caused, he said. “It’s true to say that we as Māori know how alcohol affects our people,””
Yep – and drugs. Fortunately NZ voted no.

Murupara community leader Mem Jenner was leading a war she says was stacked against her.

In the Bay of Plenty town nestled amongst the pine trees of Kaingaroa, where 90 percent of the 2000 residents are Māori, Jenner was spearheading a campaign against a proposed third liquor store.

She rallied the community on marches along Murupara’s sweeping crescents. She led chants and picket-lines outside the dairy that had applied for the liquor licence. But most dauntingly, she fronted the council’s district licensing committee, which would ultimately decide the store’s fate.

“The submission process sucks,” Jenner told RNZ. It’s a process she said works against communities, especially vulnerable ones, where whānau stories and concerns about addiction and fallout are given little weight.

“We don’t have the capacity, the capability for many people to stand there and put their evidence forward,” she said. “It’s a huge barrier for communities.”

When they did, she said, that evidence was discounted as not being valid. Stories of whānau harm were often dismissed as irrelevant, she said. It is a story recounted across the country.

But it’s a barrier those behind a new iwi-led study hope to overcome, with the government signing off on a three-year project that will try to ascertain the true extent of harm on Māori communities, through a mātauranga Māori lens.

David Ratu is one of those who will be leading the study. A Māori warden who’s plied the streets of Ōtara for years, he said waipiro (alcoholism) and the proliferation of it has an outsize effect on Māori; nearly every whānau has a tale of the harms it’s caused, he said.

“It’s true to say that we as Māori know how alcohol affects our people,” Ratu said. “I’ve grown up with it, I’ve seen my family go through it, and now I’m seeing the next generations go through it.”
READ MORE: https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/te-manu-korihi/446689/maori-up-against-it-battling-liquor-store-licensing-in-local-communities

Scroll to Top
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap