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Elder Abuse in New Zealand is on the rise: our nations hidden shame

The Chairman of the National Maori Authority, Matthew Tukaki, has called on New Zealanders to double down and eradicate elder abuse in Aotearoa. Speaking on Elder Abuse Awareness Day, Tukaki launched an online campaign to further raise awareness of the issues including financial abuse and the suffering some face when it comes to prescription medications being stolen right trough to social isolation. In 2021 Tukaki called on the Government to do more when it came to elder abuse releasing a comprehensive policy called “Manaki Pakeke”

“The truth is elder abuse in New Zealand is on the rise and it takes on many, many forms. Its not just physical - it can be emotional and mental abuse, as well as financial. Id like everyone to pause for a moment and think about how they treat their elders and think about situations you might have seen or know about that have caused concern. Also, COVID19 has seen more and more people isolating, shut away from the world at a time when social connections are much more important and even now when the cost of living is creeping up many of our older people are doing it tough. “ Tukaki said

“There are also other situations - situations like a nan and pop looking after their Moko's because their children cant but too afraid to reach out to service providers in case the financial support their own tamariki receive is cut off. Or when sometimes those tamariki or Moko take the pin number to the ATM card only to drain the Nan or Pops bank account when the national super goes through. Or the stories where Nan or Pops prescription medication goes missing and they are too afraid to tell their GP - thereby going without what could be life saving medication.” Tukaki said

“Elder abuse takes on many forms as i have said and we need to be doing much more than we are doing now to stamp it out. I say to everyone, reach out to your elders, pick up the phone for a chat. Go around for a cup of tea, take a cake or even some supplies. Send them a card or flowers, do something unexpected to put a smile on their face. Treat them as often they have treated you - with just a little love.” Tukaki said

“The reality is we are dealing with forgotten Maori, forgotten New Zealanders. We are dealing with a group of people who are often impoverished in retirement relying solely on the State for a pension, we are dealing with people who have preventive disease that undiagnosed lowers their life expectancy, we are dealing with people who are often caring for their grandchildren but who, themselves, can’t afford the dentist, prescriptions or food for themselves.” Tukaki said

“Our people have a lower life expectancy compared to non-Maori, more likely to have higher rates of disability, more likely to contract certain forms of cancer and more likely not to be able to afford to live into retirement. And then we have a low degree of infrastructure investment in the regions, Iwi and Hapu Health services literally running on the smell of an oily rag as well as the challenge of having a workforce to meet demand.” Tukaki said


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