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Our children are our taonga

Media release
March 2 2012

Our children are our taonga

The Families Commission believes the theme of this year’s Children’s Day ‘ treasure our children’ is both crucial and timely and needs to be recognised by all families and whānau across New Zealand .

Paul Curry , Chief Executive for the Families Commission and father of two, says “Our children are our taonga and do deserve to treasured.”

“Nelson Mandela said ‘ There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children’ . With submissions on the Green Paper on Vulnerable Children closing this week we are at a turning point in history where we will re-examine how we can do things better for the sake of our children.”

Based on evidence, the Families Commission submission stresses the importance of reframing our society to be more child-centred

Mr Curry says, “Children grow up in the context of their families, whānau and communities. Children need to be at the centre of families and we’ve got to get the whole environment right so that these children grow up safe and loved and properly cared for. You can’t make the child okay if the family is not okay.”

“When we make it the responsibility of the whole country to make sure that every child lives in a safe and loving home and community, we will make New Zealand a better place for our children. It will require us to be bold and have some leadership.”

Mr Curry believes a simple way to celebrate Children’s Day is to spend time together as a family and whānau.

“Hectic schedules, work and growing demands on families can mean that coming together is a real challenge. However when we can make the time, there are many health, wellbeing and emotional benefits for our children”.

The Commission’s research last year into family meals showed that families who are able to make the time to eat together will see a number of unexpected benefits –better health, including fewer indicators of depressive mood and fewer risk taking behaviours such as binge drinking, smoking, marijuana use, and inconsistent contraception use. When families can make the time, the research showed that there are many associated and ongoing benefits.

“Take some time this weekend to appreciate and treasure the children in your life,” says Mr Curry. “They are the citizens of the future.”


Information for media:

Children’s Day is celebrated on Sunday March 4. For more information visit

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