“Throw open the doors and let the stories and healing begin”
The New Zealand Maori Council has welcomed the announcement of Minister Martin and Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, about the appointment of the panel members for the Royal Commission into Child and Institutional Abuse. Council also welcomes the expansion of the Commission area of focus to include churches and faith based institutions.
“Firstly we welcome the appointment of Dr Andrew Erueti to the panel, a remarkable Maori with a deep understanding of the issues and the law. As a Council, alongside the National Maori Authority, we wanted to ensure that a candidate was nominated who was Maori and could understand the issues from our perspective.” Council spokesperson, Matthew Tukaki said.
“In our discussions with the Crown we were very clear that the number of Maori who would be impacted by the Inquiry would be high given the over representation in terms of the statistics in State Care. It was never lost on us that given the sheer number of our people who were likely victims a Maori approach, a Tikanga approach needed to be taken.” He said.
It is estimated that around 70% of those in State care between 1950 and 1999 were Maori.
“We are going to hear some horrific stories coming out of the Commission. We are going to be challenged as a society and as a people to stand up, listen up and open the doors to what has been a dark period in our history. A history that didn’t just start in 1950 and end in 1999 – child abuse in our institutions pre-dates 1950 and it continues today.” Tukaki said
“I am mindful of the challenges we face given what has happened with Australian Royal Commission but the focus of Maori Council is to find solutions to the challenges we face – and on this issue we will be working hard to ensure the abuse of our children comes under the spotlight.” Tukaki said
Dr Erueti’s nomination to the panel was supported by both Sir Taihakurei Durie, Chair of New Zealand Maori Council and Matthew Tukaki, Chair of the National Maori Authority who is also a member of the New Zealand Maori Council’s National Executive.