This website is compiled by Simon Overall of Hamilton New Zealand. ([email protected]) It is a work in progress.  






WHY IS NEW ZEALAND SO VIOLENT  defenseless children are killed by their guardians  elderly women are raped and beaten  TOURISTS SOJOURNING IN OUR SOUTHERN COUNTRY CAN BE RAPED AND KILLED











the paradox is that New Zealand could be a paradise.


It is a Pacific nation, a young country with huge resources.


A large land with a small population.


It is a first world nation with technology and industry. A functioning democracy with a corruption free business and political culture. A judicial system that regularly tries and convicts the victimizers... but the cases keep coming before the courts


But where there are people, there are victimizers. Part of the human condition is to develop culture and consciousness, and a minority part of it is to refute consciousness and be criminals.


There is a functioning welfare system, administered by Work and Income New Zealand, a government department with a huge budget. It is effectively bequeathing a social wage to the indigent and the incapable. Yet still marginal people will rob retail premises for the few hundred dollars they can obtain after threatening counter staff with a weapon. Imprisonment for a such an "aggravated robbery" with take a significant chunk out of their lives but regularly such offences occur and regularly the offenders are apprehended and prosecuted.


This implies that they rob out of a nihilism or narcissism, rather than necessity. That there is in fact a culture of offending in the marginal groups of New Zealand society.


The New Zealand population is 80% percent European and 12% indigenous Maori (a Polynesian people). Immigration from other Polynesian islands has supplemented this cultural mix and in recent times immigrants from Asian countries have settled here. South Auckland is probably the largest Polynesian city in the world.


Polynesian or Maori youth gangs burgeon. They can adopt the names and trappings of American street gangs...  there are "Bloods" and "Cripps" in South Auckland.





The most perverse victimization is that of children...





The incidence of children killed in Maori or Polynesian homes is graphic in the headlines and news coverage and presumably well above the statistical norm. The number of cases that have come before the courts over the last decades confirm that it is not an isolated aberrant phenomenon. The picture above is of a three year old, Ngati........  beaten and otherwise abused to death. Pathologists argued in court over the exact cause of his death, but there was no dispute he was covered in injuries. He had so many bruises that the officer investigating his death stopped counting after 50. A jury in the High Court in Auckland heard how his mother, 32, would punch Ngati in the face, strike him with a stick and whack him around the head when he was naughty and his 27-year-old stepfather would  beat him with baseball bats and whatever weapon was lying nearby. His parents received eight and a half years for his manslaughter and under New Zealandís sentencing laws may be eligible for parole after serving half their sentence.


Like another case, that of Delcelia Witika, his blood was found throughout the home he lived and died in.


Click this link to access a news item about the case of Delcelia Witika.


Below is a link to comments by Alan Duff, a part-Maori author and activist. He grew up in the picturesque city of Rotorua which showcases Maori culture to tourists. His father was a pakeha (white) journalist and his mother a Maori women. He witnessed the darker side of Maoridom which is not apparent in the tourist experience. He has portrayed this as an author and activist. He describes the nihilism and victimization which can occur in Maori homes, the victimization of women and children and the victimization of children by both adult genders.


But even the educated and empowered can be killers. As I write an economics lecturer has just started a life sentence for killing a student. The victim, a young woman graduate who had had research published by Oxford University... her life snuffed out by over two hundred stab and cut wounds. Click on this link for an insight into the brutality of her murder.


Below is a link to a murder map... the geographical locations of murders in our country's two main islands


Trying to react analytically instead of emotionally one notes that all western nations experience perverse crimes...


          Despite that they are materially and culturally blessed,


        Despite that there is an educated population with a popular culture of decency and humanity.


        Despite that welfare authorities ensure that dependent children of families with no income can be provided for...


... the crimes of abuse occur in enclaves separated from this ethos of humanity.


In the case described of five year old victim Delcelia Witika, the home was an enclave of a depraved kind of indulgence.


New Zealand police have methodical and modern investigation procedures... photographing and otherwise preserving evidence from crime scenes. The police investigation of the home revealed that the whole house was a crime scene, the child's blood was scattered about the walls...


The mother kept a diary of the life she lived within these walls with her partner and the child who was abused to death over a period of months. She was of enough cognitive sophistication that she could articulate and record her thoughts in a diary. She asked herself the question of why she beat the child, but was not able to come up with an inspiration to cease doing so.


links to my other content.


Sam is one of my articles about violence. Ethnography is one of the defining motifs of my major at University, Anthropology. The etymological roots of the term are from "ethno" - people and "graph" - writing. Sam is an ethnography of violence. p align="center"> 


"Sam"  p align="center"> 


;was a youthful member or associate of one of New Zealand's ethnic gangs, the Headhunters,  of the town of Moerewa in New Zealand's Northland region. Sam recounted to me personally that he and his brother between them have committed over a hundred rapes.






New Zealand has seen the death recently of Professor James Ritchie, who in partnership with his wife, spent over fifty years researching and publishing in the field of anthropology and the cultural patterns of Polynesian peoples, mostly the Maori people.


In an excerpt from a book "Overcoming Violence in Aotearoa/New Zealand" the Ritchies provided a pointed evaluation of how violence could be addressed and diminished in our country. Instead of seeing violence as a phenomenon "out there" with endless possibilities of recrimination against an endless number of possible causes, their prescription was to start within. The individual must examine their participation in the inherent violence of the larger culture and to change that participation. That through personal change there will be community change.


They note that corporal punishment was once the norm in the country's schools. Since it was discontinued by legislation, the education system still functions.


They note our national sport, rugby football is inherently violent... and that this too can be reformed. The contest of brute strength and brutal collisions of the traditional game could be replaced by "touch" football. This retains the skill and speed of the traditional game but the tackle becomes merely to contact the opposition, so they are obliged to pass the ball and achieve goals by speed, passing and team work. Touch football has a big following but the gladiatorial contests continue. The injured players who are paralyzed in collisions continue to be admitted to the spinal units of the country's hospitals. Some of these will spend their lives in wheel chairs.


But the Ritchies note that reform needs to come most of all, within the home and called for the right of parents to physically hit their children to be prohibited by legislation. At the time of writing this is the case. A national referendum was held to gauge the reactions of the people to this legislative change. The result was overwhelmingly on the side of repeal of the law. This has not thus far resulted in repeal.


There have been other changes in respect of violence in the home... Beginning in the sixties, a Maori member of the country's legislature, the parliament, routinely sought to introduce legislation involving the rights of victims in situations of domestic violence. Her "bill" was routinely refused entry onto the order of business. But gradually, over decades there was a recognition that violence in the home is like violence in the street, and that an assault in the home should be prosecuted by the courts. This has come to pass.


But prosecution is not enough... in a domestic realm the batterer and victim most often continue a relationship, despite that one may have been convicted for assaulting the other. The pattern of dominance and abuse readily continues and without intervention the assaults can continue. There are initiatives, beyond that of the traditional punishments of prison or probation, which seek to change the behaviour of those who batter their partners 


In my home base of Hamilton City, New Zealand, there is an education programme which offenders can be compelled to the attend as part of their sentence. This involves seeking to change the presumptions of the offender - that they are not sovereign in the home - and give them alternative behaviours in respect of dealing with conflict and anger.  Below is a link to a description of the Hamilton Abuse Intervention Programme (HAIP).


Hamilton Abuse Intervention Project (HAIP)


The prescription under the Haip programme is that on conviction for a domestic assault, the offender is given a sentence of supervision for nine months, during which they must complete a twelve week education programme. A link is included below about other initiatives which attempt to address family violence in New Zealand homes.


Burglary is an act of violence and the statistics about burglary demonstrate that property crime is part of the pattern of needless  offending that occurs in New Zealand. The fact that they do this in a community where a social wage is paid demonstrates that they rob out of a nihilism or narcissism, rather than necessity.





Crimes and victims are varied...


A man is on a bicycle on his way home from work at a convenience store on a Saturday evening. Some thugs in a motor-vehicle pull up beside him and commence to shoot him with plastic pellets from an air pistol, stinging him through his clothing as they shoot him over ten times.




The phenomenon of workplace bullying is more and more part of the discourse about work relationships. My own experience of it was working in retail. Over several years I observed a women in a middle management position systematically focus aggression on selected targets over different periods of time. She managed to hound several people into leaving their employment. Below is a link to my description and appraisal of their experience. The term "hound" has the same etymological roots as hound dog... with connotations of relentless or intermittent harrying and harassing.


Bullying in the Workplace


In speaking of bullying as part of a website about violence, I have gone from overt criminal violence to a kind of systemic violence in everyday relationships. From the extreme and overt criminality to the predatory in the everyday.


Unlike the ordinary decent criminal, it is perverse to find people who are aggressive in the everyday but camouflage their victimization in the context of working or professional relationships.


Violence and victimization is not necessarily overt and in the street or in external environments as in abuse in the workplace. Abuse of women occurs within the home, behind closed doors. I have experienced a kind of violence unlike either the overt criminal acts or the covert violence of the home. My own experience is of victimization by a professional in the health services. This I have described in my autobiography, Defensive Reactions in Psychiatric Patients. This too, is an ethnography of violence, recounting abuse of myself by a psychologist in one of New Zealand's psychiatric hospitals. It is a conventional book, not structured like a conventional website and over two hundred and fifty pages of text.


These last links in my site describe the experience of abuse most personal to myself. If you are able to read of this experience please email your reactions and appraisal to [email protected]