New Zealand (abbreviation: N.Z. or NZ), also called Aotearoa in Maori, is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean comprising two large islands - the North Island and the South Island - and numerous smaller islands. It has a population of about 4.4 million, made up of people of European descent (69%), the indigenous Maori (14.6%), Asians (9.2%) and non-Maori Pacific Islanders. Its capital is Wellington and its largest city is Auckland, both of which are on the North Island. Its official languages are English, Maori and NZ Sign Language, of which English is most commonly spoken. New Zealand is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations and the United Nations.
New Zealand is one of the most remote places in the world and was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. Due to its long isolation, the country developed a distinctive biodiversity of both animal and plant life, including rare species of birds, many of which became extinct after humans arrived and introduced mammals. Polynesians settled New Zealand in around the 14th century and developed a distinctive Maori culture, while Europeans first set foot on New Zealand in the 17th century. In 1840, the British and Maori signed a treaty, making New Zealand a colony of the British Empire. New Zealand is now governed by a constitutional monarchy, with Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom as the head of state (the Queen is represented by a Governor-General in NZ) and the Prime Minister as the head of government.
Spanking in New Zealand
In traditional Maori culture, spanking of children was almost non-existent.. Children were seen as gifts from atua (spiritual beings) and tipuna (ancestors). Additionally they were seen as predecessors to the unborn which in turn made them tapu (sacred with special rules and restorations). Physical discipline was thus frowned upon in favor of aroma (loving care).
However in the 19th century, New Zealand became part of the British Empire, with the population quickly becoming predominately of European decent. This also meant that European traditions were widespread, including European corporal punishment methods, both in judicial corporal punishment and regarding disciplinary spanking of children at home and school corporal punishment in school. New Zealand is renowned for being "more English than the English", and this meant the caning of boys at school — typically, "six of the best" — was extremely widespread, usually given in the hands-on-knees position, grabbing-ankles position or touching-toes position. Such canings typically took place in the corridor outside the classrooms, the boy delinquent being taken out of the class for the punishment and returning to it immediately afterwards. This custom provided semi-privacy, in the interests of sparing a boy unnecessary humiliation. Leather straps were also not uncommon, participially for primary and intermediate level schools. Girls seem to have been rarely caned or otherwise corporally punished at school, though.
- In 1990, New Zealand banned school corporal punishment.
- In 2007, New Zealand increased its spanking ban to at a total ban.
- In 2009, New Zealand held a citizen initiated, non-binding referendum, that voted 87.40% against the criminalization of spanking. Despite the supermajority of the referendum, the government did not lift the spanking ban.
- In 2014 a New Zealand news station tested public opinion on the subject by having two actors (an adult and a child) play out a scene in a playground. In the scene it was made to look like the child got a single firm smack for not obeying the adult. Despite the scene being played out multiple times no one intervened, showing that public opinion was still very much against the law change.
New Zealand spanking art
- Source: Caning: Educational Ritual by Joseph A. Mercurio, 1975; first published in the USA in 1972 as Caning: Educational Rite and Tradition - review by Colin Farrell
- Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Act 2007
- To smack or not to smack? (video)