Two months ago this Sunday three-month-old twin babies
Chris and Cru Kahui died from horrific head injuries in Auckland’s Starship
Hospital.

The death of the Maori twins, who had only been home
from hospital for five weeks, has been huge news in New Zealand with
everyone from the so-called ‘Tight 12′ who were partying at the babies’ house
when they were injured, to the police investigating, coming in for a bit of
flack.

The twelve assorted cousins and flatmates have been
routinely maligned over here for allegedly refusing to cooperate with the
investigation. Despite various family members telling the media they know who
killed the twins, police have also been slammed for failing to make what for
many seems like a straightforward arrest.

The case has inevitably opened a few old wounds, with
many commentators and media using it as a springboard to ram home their
thoughts on the welfare dependency and aggression problems of New Zealand
Maori.

As a result we’ve seen a plethora of comment on why it
is Maori have the highest child abuse and child homicide rates of any community
in New Zealand. It is, however, unlikely the whole Pakeha community would have
come up fro such scrutiny if the Kahuis had instead been white.

There’s no doubt that contrary to its laidback,
idyllic image New Zealand has one of the worst child homicide rates on record.
As outgoing New Zealand’s Governor-General explained in her to-the-point
parting address a few weeks ago, New Zealand has the third worst rate of child
homicides in the OECD, and figures show it is increasing.

Maori children are now twice as likely as other Kiwi kids to be abused,
and the Kahui case is not the first of its kind to capture the
headlines for its lurid mix of historical abuse, family dysfunction and
poverty.

And publicity last week surrounding the dubious Maori
“warrior gene”, which has been widely dismissed across the Tasman, only served
to bolster the argument of the various right-wingers baying for Maori blood.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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