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Demand an inquiry into the abuse of NZers held in state care

Human Rights Commission asks Kiwis to demand an inquiry into the abuse of New Zealanders held in state care

The Human Rights Commission has asked New Zealanders to join their call for a comprehensive inquiry into the abuse of thousands of people, many of them children, while they were under the care of the Government.

“This is a chapter in our nation’s living history where the human rights of thousands of people were abused by their own Government. More than 100,000 New Zealanders were taken from their families and put into state institutions from the 1950s to the 1990s where many suffered serious physical, sexual and emotional abuse and neglect over several years,” said Disability Rights Commissioner, Paul Gibson

“The extent of the abuse is unknown. We believe this painful and shocking chapter of New Zealand history is one that needs to be opened: if we do not openly talk about the mistakes we made, then we cannot ensure they are never repeated. Never Again. E Kore Ano.”

“People with disabilities had no rights and were removed from their homes to spend the rest of their lives in institutions far from families and loved ones: their stories need to be told.”

Maori children were more likely to end up in state homes and institutions than non-Maori children. Some were there for minor transgressions such as wagging school, others found themselves in care after a family tragedy.

“The pain and shame of their shattered childhoods and lives continue to this day, there is no mana in the way the state has treated its own vulnerable people,” said Indigenous Rights Commissioner Karen Johansen.

“Tamariki Maori were more likely to be taken from their families than other children, with some institutions reporting 80 to 100% of all youngsters coming from Maori homes. We know more than 40% of prison inmates spent their childhood in state care: this is a dark chapter in New Zealand history that must be opened up, understood and never repeated. Never again. E Kore Ano.”

An open letter signed by iwi leaders, child advocates and disability sector representatives was released today with a call for New Zealanders to sign a public petition urging Government to take action.

“Our message is simple: we must never let this abuse happen again. We need to start by hearing the stories of those people whose childhoods and lives were forever scarred by their own Government,” said Mr Gibson.

“Once we understand the full extent of what went on then we can ensure our policies in 2017 reflect our shared past: at the moment this is not the case. New Zealanders deserve to know more about their history and learn from it.”



Never Again
E Kore Ano
Historic Abuse in State Care
An Open Letter to the New Zealand Prime Minister

We, the undersigned, call on the New Zealand Government to:

• initiate an independent inquiry into the abuse of people held in State care in order to identify the systemic issues that permitted this to occur and the broader impact of these events on our communities;
• publicly apologise to those who were affected, including those who were abused, their families and whanau.
• take other appropriate steps to acknowledge the harm that has been caused to the victims and to provide them with appropriate redress and rehabilitation; and
• take action to ensure this never happens again.

We know from their stories that many New Zealanders who were placed in government institutions suffered sexual, physical and psychological abuse inflicted by staff, social workers, caregivers, teachers, clergy, cooks, gardeners, night watchmen and even other children and patients. We suspect that institutional abuse has had a disproportionately negative impact on Māori and disabled people, including those with intellectual/learning disabilities. We are yet to establish this with certainty because of the difficulty obtaining relevant data and information.

It is important to determine the full extent and nature of the abuse that occurred. We must understand what took place and learn how and why vulnerable children, teenagers and adults could be abused within the system that was supposed to care for them. Until we know the full story and until we have the answers to these questions, we are not in a position to learn from what happened and to prevent it from happening again.

Although steps have been taken to provide resolution for some individuals through existing claims processes, these processes do not address the underlying systemic questions and do not help us ensure that events like this are prevented from occurring again in future. The intention is not to relitigate the past or to usurp existing settlements – it is to find the truth and make changes for the benefit of the next generation.

Some New Zealanders who have survived abuse while in State care have told us they want an apology, accountability and, most of all, they want decision makers to learn from the past and to ensure that future generations do not suffer as they did.

What needs to happen

We want the Government to ensure that:

• the voices of those abused while in State care are heard, and the ongoing impact the events have had on their lives is understood and acknowledged
• there is official acknowledgement of the abuse that occurred
• a general public apology is provided to all those affected, including an apology for any systemic failings of past governments
• the experiences of those who have been affected are recognised and validated
• the full impact on disabled people, including those with intellectual and learning disabilities, is identified and recognised
• the impact on Māori, of both prevalence of placement in State care and incidence of abuse is adequately assessed and considered
• effective and adequate support is provided for those who have been affected
• lessons are learned from the past and action is taken, to prevent future abuse so that this never happens again.

What should be considered?

There are many ways to ensure that the above outcomes are realised. One of these is through an independent inquiry which should consider the following matters:
a) The treatment of children, young people and vulnerable adults in State care in psychiatric and psychopaedic hospitals and wards, health camps, child welfare care, youth justice facilities and special education homes
b) The extent of physical, sexual, psychological abuse and of neglect experienced while in State care
c) The impact on individuals and groups of the processes that placed people in State care, including those in foster care and other environments outside State run facilities
d) The adequacy of laws, policies and practices of the day in protecting those placed in State care from abuse and any systemic issues arising from this consideration
e) Whether, at a systemic level, complaints of abuse have been sufficiently and appropriately dealt with by other official responses, investigations or criminal or civil proceedings.

Action sought

We, the undersigned, call on the Government to initiate a robust and independent inquiry into the above matters and to take other appropriate steps to ensure that the victims of abuse receive a comprehensive public apology and appropriate redress for what took place.
We seek urgent engagement with the Government to discuss the process and methodology in more detail. It is important for all New Zealanders to understand the full extent of what took place and to work together to prevent future abuse of people while in the care of the State. Action is required now.

Paul Gibson Disability Rights Commissioner
Karen Johansen Indigenous Rights Commissioner
Dame Susan Devoy Race Relations Commissioner
Dr Jackie Blue EEO Commissioner
David Rutherford Chief Human Rights Commissioner
Richard Tankersley Human Rights Commissioner
Keith Wiffin Former resident Epuni Boys Home and other homes
Anne Helm Consumer Panel Member, Confidential Forum
Gary Williams Former resident of Pukeroa
Laura Ferguson Trust Wellington
(Ngati Porou)
Naida Glavish Iwi Leaders Forum
Co-chair, Whanau Ora Partnership Group
Rahui Papa Iwi Leaders Forum
Co-chair, Whanau Ora Partnership Group
David King National Chairperson, People First New Zealand Inc - Ngā Tāngata Tuatahi
Pati Umaga President, Disabled Persons Assembly
Prue Kapua National President, Maori Women’s Welfare League
Vivien Maidaborn Executive Director, UNICEF
Kim Workman Social Justice Advocate, Kim Workman and Associates
Areta Kopu Panelist on the Confidential Listening and Assistance Service Former Human Rights Commissioner
Judi Clements Independent consultant, health and social care; Former Chief Executive, Mental Health Foundation of NZ
Dr Elizabeth Stanley Associate Professor of Criminology, Victoria University of Wellington
Judith Aitken Public Sector Consultants Ltd
Professor Mark Henaghan Dean of Law, Otago University
Dr Brigit Mirfin-Veitch Director, Donald Beasley Institute
Professor Judy McGregor EEO Commissioner (2003 – 2012) CNZM
Rosslyn Noonan Chief Human Rights Commissioner (2001-2011)
Director, NZ Centre for Human Rights Law, Policy and Practice
Robyn Hunt Disability Rights Commissioner (2002-2010)
Joris de Bres Race Relations Commissioner (2002-2013)
Mary O’Hagen Mental Health Commissioner (2000-2007)
Materoa Dodds Distinguished Fellow in the Humanities, Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi
Ruth Jones Ngati Porou


E Kore Anō, He Tūkinotanga nō mua ki roto i ngā Whakahaere Manaaki o te Kāwanatanga

He Reta Puare ki te Pirimia o Aotearoa

Ko mātau tēnei, e rārangi iho nei ō mātau ingoa, e tono ana ki te Kāwanatanga o Aotearoa:

• me whakarite mai he uiuinga tū motuhake kia tirohia te tūkinotanga o ngā tāngata i purihia ki roto i ngā whakahaere manaaki o te Kāwanatanga e kitea mai ai ngā take pūnahanaha i hua mai ai tēnei āhuatanga me ōna pānga whānui ki ō tātau hapori;

• me tuku i te whakapāha tūmatanui ki te hunga i pāngia e ngā tūkinotanga nei, arā ko ngā tāngata tonu i tūkinotia, ko ō rātau whānau anō hoki;

• me whai i ngā huarahi tōtika e whakamōhiotia ai te kino me te mamae i rangona e ngā pārurenga, ā, me tuku he utu paremata e tōtika ana, he huarahi whakaora hoki, ki a rātau;

• me whai huarahi kia kore anō e hua mai ai tēnei momo āhuatanga.

Kei te mōhio mātau, nā ngā kōrero i rangona ai, tērā ngā tāngata o Aotearoa i whakanōhia ki roto i ngā whakahaere manaaki o te Kāwanatanga, he tokomaha tonu rātau i tūkinotia ā-taitōkai nei, ā-tinana nei, ā-hinengaro nei e ngā kaimahi o aua whakahaere, e ngā kaitoko ora, e ngā kaitiaki, e ngā kaiako, e ngā minita, e ngā ringawera, e ngā kaimahi māra, e ngā kaimataara pō, e ētahi atu tamariki, tūroro hoki. E whakapae ana mātau, he kino kē atu te pānga o tēnei āhuatanga ki te hunga Māori me te hunga hauā, tae atu ki a rātau e kopakopa ana te hinengaro. Kāore anō kia mārō tēnei whakapae, nō te mea he uaua te kimi mai i ngā raraunga me ngā pārongo. He mea nui tonu te rangahau i pēhea nei te whānui me te hohonu o ngā tūkinotanga nei me ōna momo anō hoki. Me mārama tātau ki ngā mahi i mahia, me ako hoki i pēhea, nā te aha hoki i tūkinotia ai ngā tamariki, ngā taiohi me ngā pakeke whakaraerae ki roto i tētahi pūnaha ko tōna tikanga me manaaki i a rātau. Kāore e taea e tātau te ako he aha ngā āhuatanga i hua, me pēhea hoki te aukati atu, kia mōhiotia rā anō te whānuitanga o ngā kōrero nei, kia whai whakautu hoki i ēnei pātai. Ahakoa tonu ngā mahi kua whāia ki te whakatutuki i ngā kerēme o ētahi tāngata takitahi ki roto i te tikanga whakahaere o tēnei wā, kāore e aroa ngā pātai pūnahanaha ki roto i ngā tikanga whakahaere nei, ā, kāore hoki e āwhinatia ngā mahi hei aukati i ngā momo tūkinotanga nei hei ānamata ake nei. Kāore mātau i te whai kia kootitia tuaruatia ngā āhuatanga o mua, kia takahurihia rānei ngā kerēme kua oti nei te whakatau – he rapu kē i te kōrero pono, he whakarerekē i ngā tikanga whakahaere hei painga mō ngā whakatipuranga kei te haere mai. Tērā ētahi tāngata o Aotearoa nei kua oraiti i ngā tūkinotanga i rongo ai rātau i ngā whakahaere manaakitanga o te Kāwanatanga, e kī mai ana ki a mātau kei te pīrangi rātau kia whakapāha te Kāwanatanga, kia noho haepapa te hunga e haepapa ana, ā, ko te mea nui, kia ako te hunga whakarite kaupapahere i ngā āhuatanga i pā ai ki a rātau i mua, kia kore e pērātia ngā whakatipuranga e haere mai ana.

He aha ngā mahi me oti

Kei te tono mātau ki te Kāwanatanga, māna e whakarite mai:

• kia rangona ngā reo o te hunga i tūkinotia ki roto i ngā whakahaere manaaki o te Kāwanatanga, ka mōhiotia hoki ngā hua kino o ēnei mahi e pā tonu nei ki a rātau;

• kia whakaae ōkawa te Kāwanatanga, i mahia ēnei mahi tūkino ki a rātau;

• kia tukuna tētahi whakapāha tūmatanui ki ngā tāngata i pāngia ai e tēnei āhuatanga, he whakapāha hoki me he hapanga pūnahanaha nō ngā Kāwanatanga o mua;

• kia mōhiotia ngā pānga kino i rangona ai e ngā tāngata i tūkinotia, me te mōhio anō he kino tonu;

• kia rangahaua, kia whakamōhiotia te whānuitanga o ngā pānga kino i pā ai ki ngā tāngata hauā;

• kia rangahaua, kia wānangatia te whānuitanga o ngā pānga kino i pā ai ki a Ngāi Māori, arā mō te tokomaha i tukuna ki roto i ngā whakahaere manaaki o te Kāwanatanga me te nui o te tūkinotanga;

• kia tukuna he tautoko e tōtika ana ki te hunga i pāngia kinotia nei;

• kia whakamaua ngā akoranga e puta mai ana i ngā mahi o mua, kia mahia he mahi hei aukati i te tūkinotanga, kia kore rawa e pērā anō.

He aha ngā āhuatanga me wānanga?

He nui tonu ngā huarahi hei whakatutuki i ngā whāinga o runga ake nei. Ko tētahi, ko te whakatū mai i tētahi uiuinga tū motuhake hei wānanga i ngā āhuatanga e rārangi iho nei: a) ko ngā momo manaakitanga i tukuna ki ngā tamariki, ki ngā rangatahi, ki ngā tāngata whakaraerae ki roto i ngā whakahaere manaaki o te Kāwanatanga, arā i ngā hohipera mate hinengaro, i ngā hōpuni hauora, i ngā whare manaaki tamariki, i ngā whare herehere mō ngā rangatahi, i ngā whare whakaako tamariki hauā hoki; b) te whānuitanga o ngā mahi tūkino ā-tinana, ā-taitōkai, ā-hinengaro, me te whānuitanga hoki o te whakangongotanga, ki roto i ngā whakahaere manaaki o te Kāwanatanga; c) ngā pānga kino i pā ai ki ngā tāngata takitahi me ngā kāhui tāngata i ngā tikanga whakahaere mō te tuku i te tangata ki roto i ngā whakahaere manaaki o te Kāwanatanga, tae atu ki ngā kaitiaki tamariki whāngai me ngā wāhi hoki kei waho atu o ngā whare Kāwanatanga; d) te tōtika rānei o ngā ture, o ngā kaupapahere, o ngā mahi hoki o ia rā ki te tiaki i te hunga i tukuna ki roto i ngā whakahaere manaaki o te Kāwanatanga, arā ki te tiaki i a rātau i te tūkinotanga me ngā take pūnahanaha e hua ake ana; e) mehemea rānei i tōtika te aro me te whakautu, ā-pūnahanaha nei, ki ngā amuamu mō te tūkinotanga ki roto i ngā uiuinga, i ngā whakatewhatewhanga, i ngā whakahaere kooti.

Ko te mahi e whāia ana

Ko mātau tēnei, e rārangi iho nei ō mātau ingoa, e tono ana ki te Kāwanatanga māna e whakarite mai he uiuinga tū kaha, tū motuhake ki te rangahau i ngā āhuatanga o runga ake nei, ki te whai huarahi anō hoki e tukua ai ki ngā pārurenga o te tūkinotanga he whakapāha tūmatanui, he utu paremata hoki e ea ai ngā mahi kino i mahia ai ki a rātau.

Kei te tono mātau kia tere te whai wāhi mai a te Kāwanatanga ki te matapaki i te tikanga whakahaere mō ngā mahi nei. He mea nui kia mōhio ngā tāngata katoa o Aotearoa ki te whānuitanga o ngā mahi i mahia, ā, ki te mahi tahi hei aukati atu i ngā mahi tūkino i te tangata ki roto i ngā whakahaere manaaki o te Kāwanatanga ā muri ake nei. Me kōkiri ināianei.

Nā mātau

Paul Gibson Kaikōmihana Tika Tangata Hauā

Karen Johansen Kaikōmihana Tika Iwi Taketake

Dr Jackie Blue Kaikōmihana Whakaōrite Whakawhiwhinga Mahi

Dame Susan Devoy Kaikōmihana Whakawhanaunga-ā-Iwi

David Rutherford Kaikōmihana Matua mō ngā Tika Tangata

Richard Tankersley Kaikōmihana Tika Tangata

Judith Aitkin Public Sector Consultants Limited

Materoa Dodds He Tino Pūkenga Mātauranga Tāngata, Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiarangi

Naida Glavish Hea Takirua, Te Rōpū Kaitiaki o Whānau Ora me te Rōpū Iwi mō Whānau Ora

Anne Helm Kaitohutohu, Capital & Coast Mental Health, Te Wāhanga ki ngā Warawara me ngā Mate Hinengaro Hauā

Professor Mark Henaghan Tumuaki o Te Tari Ture, Te Whare Wānanga o Otago

Prue Kapua Perehitini, Te Rōpū Wāhine Māori Toko i te Ora

David King Hea ā-Motu - Ngā Tāngata Tuatahi

Vivien Maidaborn Te Tumu Whakarae, UNICEF

Dr Brigit Mirfin-Veitch Kaiwhakahaere, Donald Beasley Institute

Rahui Papa Hea Takirua, Te Rōpū Kaitiaki o Whānau Ora me te Rōpū Iwi mō Whānau Ora

Pati Umaga Perehitini, Te Kāhui o ngā Tāngata Hauā

Dr Kim Workman Kim Workman and Associates

© Scoop Media

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