Call for 3-minute silence attacked

NZ Herald August 08, 2007
A Maori group has attacked today’s plan for a silent protest at New Zealand’s high level of child abuse. Family First NZ, For the Sake of Our Children Trust, and the Sensible Sentencing Trust, have asked New Zealanders to stop what they are doing at 12.12pm and observe three minutes of silence. They hope people will come out of their offices and step out of their cars to take part and reflect on what they can do to stop child abuse. But Allies of Whanau of Aotearoa (Awa) are calling for people to “make some noise” instead. “Silence on the issue sends out the wrong message,” spokesman Te Kanikani Tautoko said. “It’s something we need to be discussing as opposed to not saying anything.”Both campaigns follow the death of Rotorua toddler Nia Glassie on Friday. The 3-year-old died in Auckland’s Starship hospital after weeks of horrific abuse, allegedly at the hands of her extended family. Family First spokesman Bob McCoskrie said the three minutes represented “the three short years” of Nia’s life, and the time mirrored the 12 children who died from child abuse each year in New Zealand.