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Mäori perspectives on Family Court studied

Media Release

Mäori perspectives on Family Court studied

Research released today in a report commissioned by the Ministry of Justice and the Department for Courts provides an insight into Mäori perspectives on the Family Court. The report is entitled Guardianship, Custody and Access: Mäori Perspectives and Experiences.

The report suggests a number of ways to recognise Mäori perspectives on guardianship, custody and access, and to assist Mäori participation in Family Court proceedings. For example, it suggests a greater recognition of Mäori principles concerning the care and upbringing of children in family legislation; participation of the wider whänau in the Family Court; and the employment of Family Court counsellors and specialist report writers with appropriate cultural sensitivities.

Interviews were carried out with Mäori users of the Family Court and some Mäori professionals who worked in the Family Court. The report identifies a number of themes including the significance of whakapapa; the importance of children to whänau, hapü and iwi; and that whänau have rights and responsibilities for child raising and children also have corresponding rights and responsibilities to the whanau.

“The research focuses on the experiences of Mäori in the Family Court, when they become involved in guardianship, custody and access cases,” says Ms Cheryl Gwyn Deputy Secretary for Justice.

“It has provided useful input into the Government’s review of the Guardianship Act.

“The authors of the report were Di Pitama and George Ririnui from Strategic Training and Development Services, and Ani Mikaere”, says Ms Gwyn.
The full report is available online from the Ministry of Justice web site at www.justice.govt.nz

ENDS

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