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Quarter of a million New Zealanders abused – a long running national tragedy

The Executive Director of the New Zealand Maori Council, Matthew Tukaki, has said that New Zealanders should be ashamed and concerned. Figures from the Royal Commission into Abuse in Care suggest that from 1950 to 2019 an estimated 655,000 New Zealanders were in the care of the State, 40% of those children were estimated to have been abused and 69% were Maori.

“The figures are not just astounding they are appalling and every Government agency from Oranga Tamariki to the Ministry for Education should be held to account alongside faith-based institutions and organisations. We are now nearly two years into the largest endeavour of its kind, the Royal Commission, and we must not be afraid to listen and hear the stories of those abused – and move quickly towards ongoing systemic change.” Tukaki said

“Let’s put some perspective on this – imagine this we are talking about a population three times the size of Wellington and lets be harsher – if the figures are accurate imagine that everyone living in the Capital was abused – every man, woman and child. That should deeply affect us all when told in the cold hard light of day” Tukaki said

“That is why every New Zealander, Maori and otherwise, who have been impacted by abuse in care should have every chance to be heard and that is why I am calling for the Commissions time frame to be extended.” Tukaki said

“The release of the interim report by the Commission is instrumental in setting the scene for where to from here. So far hundreds of people have come forward and have had their stories both documented and heard – but we must do more to ensure that more New Zealanders feel comfortable in coming forward.” Said Tukaki

“That includes encouraging more of our whanau who have been institutionalised in the care and protection system, mental health institutions, faith-based organisations, correctional facilities and so on. And everything points to the need to both extend the Commission through to 2025 and an increase in budget.” Tukaki said


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