Friday 12 November 2021

Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu hopes new research will improve outcomes for Māori in State Care

Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu is dismayed by the findings of Hāha-uri, Hāha-tea, a new report by Ihi research that details the over-representation of tamariki Māori in state care, as well as the chronic racism and abuse experienced within the system. Pouārahi Helen Leahy says it is imperative that this research result in justice for affected whānau, and a commitment to overhauling the system to prevent further harm.

“We were devastated, although unsurprised, to read about the enduring, systemic and structural racism that tamariki and whānau have experienced across the State Care system,” says Ms Leahy. “It is our fervent hope that at the very least, this report will provide insight and learnings that will prevent further pain and suffering.”

Ms Leahy says she is optimistic that the Crown intends to respond appropriately, noting that it was the Crown Secretariat that approached Ihi Research to produce the report. She hopes it will influence the outcome of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care, which is nearly halfway through its work.

“The findings of this research make it impossible to ignore the fact that successive governments have failed tamariki and whānau Māori,” says Ms Leahy. “Racist policies and processes meant that tamariki Māori were more likely to come into contact with the system, more likely to be uplifted from their whānau, and more likely to experience differential and even abusive treatment while in care.”
While the findings of this report are difficult to read, they will prove invaluable in addressing past failings and creating better outcomes for tamariki Māori in future.

“As it is said, sunlight is the best disinfectant. We hope that light having been shone onto the appalling experiences borne by far too many will serve as a powerful reminder that we must never ignore or minimise the facts of this shameful history.”“I also congratulate the team at Ihi Research for the incredible effort they have put into sharing the experience of Māori in relation to the care and protection system,” says Ms Leahy. “I know that it has been gruelling to delve into the stories of neglect and abuse and that they continued only out of determination to pursue justice for those whānau, and a better future for all.”


For media enquiries, please contact:
Kahu Te Whaiti – 021 518 094
Helen Leahy – 021 881 031