Saturday, 13 August 2011


Cherie Kurarangi Sweeney - Image: Stuff

Cherie Kurarangi-Sweeney is a grass roots anti child abuse campaigner. After her next-door neighbour’s child died as the result of abuse, she decided that somthing needed to be done. During the aftermath of that incident she came to the decision that she would be the person to do it, a decision that would not be welcomed by some in her neighbourhood. Ironically she had escaped to the area to heal after difficulties; she felt the place had a lot of mana.
“Mana” has to be one of the top ten misused Maori words, seriously. It means prestige, authority, control, power, influence, status, spiritual power, charisma and history. Figure it out. Cherie was on the show a few weeks ago and I have to say it must have been the first time in my life I have witnessed mana. It’s not just a word! It took a while to appreciate the risk she is taking “narking” on abuse and setting up a support network for others willing to take the risk.  The hairs on my arms started to prickle as I listened to her speak. It was refreshing to hear such talk amongst the clumsy innuendo, mysticism, congratulations and pseudo-science that generally baited the show. It made me feel quite emotional. The control room afterwards agreed that she was both lovely and brave. She doesn’t own a computer or have internet access at home. She uses the local library’s computer to operate her Facebook page which currently has over 10,000 followers. A real life champion. I'm thinking culture change rather than law change if you care.

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