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“We are the Stolen Generation” in New Zealand

MEDIA RELEASE

12 May 2017

“We are the Stolen Generation” in New Zealand

A number of claimants have applied to the Waitangi Tribunal for an urgent hearing into Māori children that were placed in state care between the 1950s and 1990s. Paora Crawford Moyle has been a social worker for some 25 years advocating for the rights of some of our most vulnerable children in society.

“I spent 14 years in state care and was completely vulnerable to not only the violent inhumane treatment by adults I was placed with, but also suffered state abuse and institutional racism by a government that abandoned hundreds of thousands of tamariki Māori just like me. Our voices will no longer be silenced and our wairua no longer destroyed. We are a stolen generation and I want to be a spanner not a cog” states Paora Crawford Moyle, who has joined the applications into an urgent hearing before the Waitangi Tribunal this week.

“The Crown breached all principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi in my view by severing Māori from their whanau, hapu and iwi and therefore we lost all connections to our whakapapa, reo and tikanga and displacing us from our turangawaewae.”

“I have read the report released by the Waitangi Tribunal Tu Mai Te Rangi regarding the Inquiry into the disproportionate Māori reoffending rates and totally support the findings in that Report. It slams the Crown for failing to meet its Treaty obligations and is sympathetic towards a Royal Commission of Inquiry. The majority of Māori men who ended up in prison were children of the state and a good majority of the women too. It’s all related” says Ms Moyle.

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Recently, Race Relations Commission, Dame Susan Devoy highlighted that more than 100,000 children and vulnerable adults were put into care over the past 40 years and that between the 1950s and 1970s almost half of all children in state care were Māori.

“In 1978, 89 per cent of admissions to Hokio were Māori and Pasifika. In 1985, Māori boys made up 78 per cent of all youngsters held in six Social Welfare homes across Auckland. And for me as Race Relations Commissioner, if I'm to understand why more than half of our prison inmates are Māori then I need to be clear about how they got there in the first place. And like many others, I suspect that this story began many years ago in our state run institutions. But until we have an inquiry, we will never know for sure.” comments Dame Susan Devoy.

The Human Rights Commission is also demanding a comprehensive Inquiry into the abuse of children while placed under state care. Indigenous Rights Commissioner Karen Johansen states “Tamariki Māori were more likely to be taken from their families than other children, with some institutions reporting 80 to 100% of all youngsters coming from Māori 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”

Claimants are currently replying to Crown submissions due this week in relation to the application into an urgent hearing before the Waitangi Tribunal.

ENDS


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