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He mokopuna, he taonga - an aspiration for all Aotearoa

Hon Tariana Turia and Hon Dr Pita Sharples
Maori Party Co-Leaders

11 October 2012

He mokopuna, he taonga - an aspiration for all Aotearoa

The Māori Party salutes the statement in the White Paper that children are taonga, to be treasured, protected, supported and nurtured.

Mrs Turia said “This is a bold statement of faith which the Māori Party has worked hard with Government to ensure our sights are set high. We support the significant changes that have occurred since the Green Paper, driven by the influence of Whānau Ora.

“Whānau Ora is about taking action to ensure the wellbeing of all our tamariki is promoted, encouraged and supported within the context of whānau. We must remember that vulnerable children are part of vulnerable whanau, where the normal protections have broken down. We must restore the ability of the whānau to look after themselves and each other”.

“We welcome the recognition in the White Paper that iwi, hapū and extended family have a vital stake in the life and future prospects of their tamariki and that Government will work with those who want change in their family or community”, said Mrs Turia.

Dr Sharples said “Iwi approved caregiving is a good step. This is the time for iwi, hapū and whanau to take responsibility – we have seen that happening already, in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Ngapuhi and Child, Youth and Family. The White Paper signals that iwi, hapū and whanau will be invited to work with the State, to develop a nationwide database of approved iwi caregivers, to encourage whānau placements.

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“Now is the time for bold action – for families to step up to the challenge; and for Government to trust in their solutions. The Māori Party would be concerned if the prevailing message is what whānau can’t do – rather than what they can. We need to see the strengths based approach of Whānau Ora given much more emphasis in the ongoing implementation of the White Paper.”

“We are pleased however, that Government is cleaning up its act – through seeking fewer layers in the system; restoring Family Group Conferences to their original intention with stronger engagement from iwi, hapu and whanau; agencies and non-government organisations; and that government agencies work together and with others, to ensure we improve outcomes for vulnerable children”.

“We support an independent review of the CYFS complaints process to ensure our key child protection agency provides the quality of service we should all expect.

Mrs Turia said “We have to remember we must attack this issue on many fronts. The answers rely on all of us. There is only so much Government can or should do.

“But finally, we ask that we let the children who have died through shameful acts of violence, rest in peace. These children too were taonga. In continually feeding their names and experiences up for public consumption, as a society we continue to damage their memory. Let the children sleep. And let us never, ever allow such horrific abuse to occur to any child under our watch.”


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