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Statement Of Te Hunga Rōia Māori O Aotearoa On Te Taniwha I Te Ao Ture-Ā-Whānau

Statement of Te Hunga Rōia Māori o Aotearoa on Te Taniwha I Te Ao Ture-Ā-Whānau - Whānau Experience of Care and Protection in the Family Court report

Māori Law Society supports report on tikanga and Te Tiriti approaches in the Family Court

Today Te Taniwha I Te Ao Ture-Ā-Whānau report has been released. Te Hunga Rōia Māori o Aotearoa – The Māori Law Society welcomes the report and strongly supports the recommendations made.

The report covers experiences of whānau Māori in Family Court proceedings throughout Aotearoa under the care and protection provisions of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989. Care and protection proceedings involve decisions about the risk of harm to children and young people, including whether they should be taken into state care. “The personal stories shared in this report shines a light on the lived experiences of whānau Māori in our judicial system, in particular the Family Court jurisdiction,” says Stephanie Northey, Family Law Section representative for Te Hunga Rōia Māori. “The reports highlights the need for whānau-centered and tikanga Māori based approaches in order to bring about opportunities for transformative change. It also provides very practical and tangible options that provide a way forward through solutions that embrace the partnership envisaged by Te Tiriti o Waitangi.”

The report proposes three options towards transformational change. The first focusses on changing the behaviour of the Judiciary and professionals involved in the Justice System. This Includes ensuring the attainment of a sound knowledge of Tikanga and te reo Māori as non-negotiable for professionals working In the Family Court. The second option is to hold Family Court proceedings on a Saturday which allows for more whānau to attend and be part of the solution. The third proposal which requires the Government, Iwi and the community to establish a board, comprising at least 50 per cent Māori members, that will facilitate care and protection proceedings in place of the Family Court.

Te Hunga Rōia Māori strongly supports the report’s options for change. “Time for change is upon us. Māori are disproportionately represented throughout the Justice System in Aotearoa. Tamariki Māori make up only 25% of all children in Aotearoa, however, they represent 68% of the children in state care,” says Ms Northey. “We cannot ignore the grim statistics any longer and immediate action must be taken to rectify this situation for tamariki Māori and our whānau. Whānau have spoken and provided very clear feedback that the current Family Court system is not working and have provided recommendations which must be implemented.”

About us 

Te Hunga Rōia Māori o Aotearoa, the Māori Law Society, was formally established in 1988. Since then, the Society has grown to include a significant membership of legal practitioners, judges, parliamentarians, legal academics, policy analysts, researchers and Māori law students. The vision for Te Hunga Rōia Māori is Mā te Ture, Mō te Iwi – By the Law, For the People.


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