Prisoners with a flair for kapa haka are among the beneficiaries of the govt’s latest efforts to promote our wellbeing

Our Beehive bulletin

Enhancing the wellbeing of people banged up in our prisons was the subject of one Beehive announcement yesterday.  Enhancing the wellbeing of farm animals was the subject of another.  And enhancing the wellbeing of all of us by protecting us from terrorists was the subject of a statement from the PM.

Disarmament and Arms Control Minister Phil Twyford – more grandly – had the welfare of the whole world in his considerations when he addressed a workshop on lethal autonomous weapons systems.

From our monitoring of The Beehive website we learned –

  • Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis announced the joyous news that – for the first time – all 18 prisons in New Zealand will be invited to participate in an inter-prison kapa haka competition.
  • Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor brought less joyous news to some farmers when he announced the export of livestock by sea will cease following a transition period of up to two years. He acknowledged the economic benefit some farmers get from the trade, but I also noted that “support of it is not universal within the sector.”
  • The PM issued a stocktake undertaken by France and New Zealand which shows “significant global progress” under the Christchurch Call towards its goal to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online. 
  • Disarmament and Arms Control Minister Phil Twyford addressed a workshop on lethal autonomous weapons systems, explaining that New Zealand has strongly supported the development of 11 Guiding Principles by the Group of Governmental experts on this issue. He provided a snapshot of what New Zealand has done on this issue and where we stand now.
  • Racing Minister Grant Robertson announced he is appointing Liz Dawson as Chair of the interim TAB NZ Board.  The interim board is responsible for the governance of TAB New Zealand until the substantive board of directors is appointed. 

Kelvin Davis’ kapa haka announcement (he explained) supports the aims of Corrections’ strategy Hōkai Rangi by bringing participants closer to their culture, identity and language.

The 2021 Hōkai Rangi Whakataetae Kapa Haka will involve groups preparing and performing kapa haka for judges who visit each prison and ultimately choose winners across a variety of categories.

These are kapa haka judges, we imagine, rather than judges of the sort who preside over court cases and sentence some criminals to terms in prison. 

“Access to culture is a fundamental right, not a privilege, regardless of a person’s circumstances,” Kelvin Davis said.

“This is a chance for prisoners and staff to celebrate Māori culture while also building teamwork, discipline and a sense of achievement.

“In 2020, the competition had a positive impact on the relationships between staff, prisoners and all those involved. It created whanaungatanga within the groups,” Kelvin Davis said.

Hands up, those of you who knew what he meant when he enthused about the creation of whanaungatanga.

Corrections will partner with kapa haka tutors from the community, iwi and mana whenua to support participants in their preparation.

The 2021 Hōkai Rangi Whakataetae Kapa Haka will be funded through the Māori Pathways Programme.

The announcement from Damien O’Connor about a ban on the export of livestock by sea after a two-year transition period might be regarded in some circles as good news for the livestock.  

Not necessarily so.  Instead of a sea cruise to China and other pastures overseas, the livestock are likely to be dispatched to the local slaugher house.

At the heart of the decision, O’Connor said, is upholding New Zealand’s reputation for high standards of animal welfare.

His statement included data showing live exports by sea have represent approximately 0.2 percent of New Zealand’s primary sector exports revenue since 2015.  Even so, they are worth millions to the people involved in the trade and O’Connor acknowledged the economic benefit some farmers get from the trade.

In her statement, Jacinda Ardern said that since its launch in Paris on 15 May 2019 … 

  • More than 50 countries and international organisations have supported the Christchurch Call to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online. 
  • It has ten tech companies in support. Most recently, the Call welcomed Japan-based messaging company LINE Corporation, and support from – a video game journalism website based in France – was announced during the Call event at the Paris Peace Forum. 
  • Three crisis response protocols are operational, that did not exist at the time of the Christchurch attacks. The Christchurch Call Shared Crisis Response Protocol, the company protocol and the European protocol, provide an interlinking communications network that enables a rapid and coordinated response to online events, between Governments and companies. 
  • The Call has also been the driving impetus for GIFCT reform, giving it independent status and dedicated resourcing. 
  • The GIFCT will carry forward substantive progress on a number of the Call commitments. New Zealand and France sit on a number of bodies within the GIFCT where policy work is already being carried out, including the Independent Advisory Committee and working groups dealing with Crisis Response and content-sharing algorithms, processes and positive interventions and transparency.

Phil Twyford told the workshop on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems he is keen to bring some strong political impetus to disarmament and arms control.

He sees his role, broadly, as being two-fold – ensuring that New Zealand continues to have a vibrant domestic community of activists, experts, and politicians dedicated to these issues, while also making sure the Government plays a proactive and constructive role in international, through the various avenues available to us.

As you all know, the spectre of Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (or “LAWS”) is the very definition of a complex policy problem. It will require a multi-stakeholder approach to understand the breadth and depth of issues in play and to make sure that New Zealand’s policy is robust, effective and durable.

More complex than housing, we wonder?

Let’s see what he can accomplish. 

From The Beehive

14 APRIL 2021

Significant global progress made under Christchurch Call

New chair of interim TAB NZ Board appointed

Government to phase out live exports by sea

Workshop on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems – opening remarks

Inter-prison kapa haka competition launched



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