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Mana Ririki welcomes Inaugural Child Poverty Monitor

Mana Ririki

Media release

Embargoed until 5am Monday 9 December 2013


Mana Ririki welcomes Inaugural Child Poverty Monitor

Executive Director of Maori child advocacy organisation Mana Ririki welcomes the Child Poverty Monitor, which is being launched at 1.30-3.00pm on Monday 9 December at the Newtown Community and Cultural Centre in Wellington.

“Over the last thirty years we have seen a dramatic increase in child poverty rates,” Anton Blank said.

“New Zealand children are twice as likely to experience and live in poverty than New Zealand adults. Rates of child poverty for Maori and Pasifika are twice that of New Zealand European children.

“This means that Maori and Pasifika children have poorer health, experience more violence in the home, and do less well at school. Moving into adulthood they are more likely to be unemployed, have contact with the criminal justice system, and suffer from mental health problems.

“The Child Poverty Monitor will help us track these issues over time. One positive aspect of this inaugural monitor is a decline in inpatient hospital admissions from assault, neglect and maltreatment in Maori children aged one to fourteen.

“Mana Ririki’s raison d’etre is to eliminate Maori child abuse. Awareness of the disproportionately high rate of Maori child abuse is now high, and this downward trend is one of the most encouraging aspects of the monitor.

“We hope it is an indication of the success of the preventive work being undertaken by agencies all over the country. The monitor will give us the ability to track Maori child abuse rates into the future.”

Anton Blank believes that culturally specific measurements and monitors need to be developed for Maori and Pasifika children.

“At the moment the wellbeing of Maori and Pasifika children is measured by comparing them to other groups. This assumes that all children must meet the same standards, and fails to take account of how different cultures define childhood and child development.

“We have started to explore how culturally specific-measurements could be constructed, and what they should measure. Over the last twenty years Maori academics have done some thinking about this issue, although no-one has looked specifically at childhood.

“From the literature we have scanned things like traditional cultural values, te reo Maori, spirituality, and the well-being of extended whanau all emerge as important influences of Maori health. The challenge is how to quantify the importance of these domains for Maori children, and develop them into a useful measurement tool.

“Sitting alongside data from the Child Poverty Monitor, this type of measurement would give us a much clearer sense of the culturally-specific issues for Maori children. It would also help us develop kaupapa Maori strategies to address child poverty – and research consistently tells us that by Maori for Maori approaches to social issues are the most likely to be successful.”

Ends

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