Maori children in state care - Aotearoa's lost generation : Dame Susan Devoy
Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy believes New Zealand children were more likely to be taken off their families and put into state homes because they were Maori. Once there many youngsters were subsequently physically and sexually abused.
“The uplifting of Maori children from their families for trivial reasons or no reason at all is the very definition of institutional racism but without an inquiry into the abuse suffered by children in our state run homes we will never know its true extent,” said Dame Susan.
The Human Rights Commission and other prominent New Zealanders called on Prime Minister Bill English to agree to an inquiry into the abuse of children and vulnerable adults held in state institutions over forty years. They also called on the Government to apologise.
“Those children deserve justice and all New Zealanders deserve to know what went on. This is the right thing to do and we need to urge our Government to do the right thing.”
“By the seventies almost half of all kids in state care were Maori children and a generation later more than half of our prison population are Maori adults: many of whom are former wards of the state,” said Dame Susan.
“So often people will want to say we need to be colour blind about justice but the reality is that when you look at our prisons: ethnicity is its defining factor. Today Maori New Zealanders make up more than half of our total prison population, a damning indictment on a system that is many times more likely to arrest a young person if he is Maori. Maori girls and women are even more over-represented.”
Dame Susan called on the Government to show “leadership and humanity” on major human rights abuses that took place right here in our own towns and suburbs.