Anti smacking message not lost in translation


A book with the message that it’s not okay to smack children has been so well received in English that it has been translated for the refugee and migrant communities in Nelson.

It’s been nearly ten years since the anti-smacking law was put into place after section 59 of the Crimes Act was repealed. We don’t hit anybody here, was released in 2004, written by Beth Wood and illustrated by Donna McKenna.

The book is published by the children’s commissioner and the New Zealand police. It was origionally available in Maori, Samoan and English. However, recently a member of the refugee and migrant community in Nelson suggested it be translated into languages relevant to their families.

Felicity Hurst is the project leader behind Te Rito. With support from the Victory Community Centre she has organised to have the book republished in Chin Haka, Zomi, Burmese and Nepali.

She says while this stance is becoming embedded in New Zealand, by translating books like Hey! We don’t hit anybody here in to other languages we can spread the same message to people from other cultures living here.

“Parents and caregivers are acknowledging that it’s not okay to smack kids or raise their hands to children,” she says, “and if they find themselves doing it they know they have crossed the line and are seeking help.”

Sue Leya translated the book into Chin Haka; Theresa Zam translated it into Zomi and Burmese and Tika Regmi (known as Govinda) has translated the book into Nepali.

Nelson Tasman Te Rito and Victory Community Centre are making copies of Hey! We don’t hit anybody here available to each family in the Chin, Burmese, Nepali and Zomi communities. As well as releasing the book as a PDFs. Te Rito has already received requests for copies overseas for translation.