I confess to being confused by this article:
“A mother is seeking legal advice after her 5-year-old son was made to clean toilets by a caregiver at Chipmunks as punishment for supposedly hitting a girl in the face with a ball.
“Oriwa Pehi-Livapulu says her son Noble could have become sick and has complained to Child, Youth and Family, which funds the after-school care programme in Rotorua, known as Oscar.
““They could have made him collect the dishes off the table but he was not given that option. He doesn’t even clean the toilet at home, he’s only 5 years old. I draw the line at that. It’s a big no-no.
““My mana has been taken away from me. Noble’s spirit has been trampled on.””
I am no expert on Pacific Island and Maori mana, being both a Pakeha and a foreigner. I am therefore finding it hard to understand why getting a five-year-old to wash out a toilet could be considered mana-removing to the mother. Is this some sort of “untouchables” thing, where cleaning a toilet is considered too menial or low-caste? Is this some sort or archaic female-only task? I fail to see how a five-year-old’s spirit can be trampled on.
Does this mean that the lovely pacific island lady who cleans the place where I work is some sort of domestic outcast? A person without mana? It has been my understanding that mana is dependent on who you are, not simply your social standing, but I might have got the wrong end of the stick here.
This is not a Maori/PI beat up post. I am genuinely concerned. If this lady’s over-the-top reaction is shared by others then “mana” in this context sounds suspiciously elitist. I’ve always been a big fan of bringing more Maori culture into “mainstream” New Zealand (rather than keeping it separate). But I’m not keen on encouraging a caste system or sexist division of labour.