10 Apr 2017

Hawke's Bay nannies fight against P

11:43 am on 10 April 2017

A group of Māori kuia in Hawke's Bay who say they have been abused by whānau who are high on P are fighting back.

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Methamphetamine, or 'P' is "rampant" in Hawke's Bay, district councillor Bayden Barber said. Photo: wikipedia

Calling themselves 'Nanny's Against P', they are holding a hui at Matahiwi marae today to discuss the extent of the drug problems they say they are faced with on a daily basis.

Lovey Edwards, 78, is a great-grandmother to 34 children, whom she affectionately calls her moko tuarua.

She said she was worried about them because some of their parents, her own grandchildren, were hooked on methamphetamine.

"We brought them up the best way we could," she said.

"They never starved and they had clothes on their backs. But these days, there [are] no clothes for the mokos because the parents are doing something else.

"They are not worrying about their kids."

Mrs Edwards said another nanny had to call the police on her son because he was abusive to her and his children who were in her care.

"He came back one night and he was verbally abusing her and she had just had enough.

"She rang the police and that is when everything came out with the two kids. One of them had taken photos of the other one with bruises. He was actually marking them, bruising them," Mrs Edwards said.

"He must have been hitting them, but she did not know."

Mrs Edwards said that kuia told her friends and from there, similar stories started to emerge from the other kaumātua about their own whānau.

The nannies are part of the Ngā Kairauhii Trust, which is a collective of six marae.

At a hui last month, attended by 100 people, chairperson Areta Te Huia said one of the grandmothers made a shocking confession to those gathered.

"She cooked the P and then she gave it out to the community," she said.

"And she apologised to everyone that was in this hui if she had sold it to their children, their grandchildren.

"She apologised and I do not think there was a dry eye in the room at that time."

Meth 'rampant' in Hawke's Bay - district councillor

Havelock North public meeting over the contamination of the bores that supply Havelock North's water. Bayden Barber, organiser of Walk for Water.

Bayden Barber Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Hastings District councillor Bayden Barber is helping the nannies and said he was blown away by what P was doing to his community.

"It is the taniwha that is destroying our communities," he said.

"It is not a race thing and it is not a pohara [poor] thing because rich pākehā are getting hooked on P as well. But certainly in our Māori communities, it is destroying them.

"It is quite rampant here in the Hawke's Bay."

Mr Barber said people were desperate for help but they did not know where to find it.

"There seems to be limited services available for families, for whānau that are picking up the pieces.

"So we needed to know who is doing what in the P game in the Hawke's Bay. Find out where the gaps were. Find out who the providers are and get them along."

P problem worsening - drug and alcohol counsellor

One provider who is to give a korero at today's hui is the kaupapa Māori service for drug and alcohol addiction, Te Poutama Tautoko.

Internal Affairs figures showed that of the people who turned up to Te Poutama Tautoko with drug problems in 2016, 16 percent of them were on P.

That compares with only 7 percent in 2015, and 2 percent in 2009.

Manager Benita Adamson said the situation was ugly and it was only getting worse.

She recalled some families that one of her clinicians worked with where nannies were living with their mokopuna and the parents.

"They were getting visited by the dealers of the drug but it got so big for the Nan's that some of them ended up using themselves to keep themselves safe," she said.

"That is ridiculous. There was nothing we could do about it."

Ms Adamson said she dealt with police and health professionals and all were at a loss about what to do.

She commended the work of the nannies and said it was going to take effort from everyone in the community to help make a difference.

The hui starts with a powhiri at 9.30am at Matahiwi Marae.

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