Historic state abuse of children to be heard at Ōrākei marae

By Tumamao Harawira

Tumutumuwhenua will house the survivors of abuse for two weeks next month, and Commissioner Julia Steenson says the Royal Commission into Abuse in State Care is looking forward to some lessons being learned.

"There are so many lessons from the history especially with this thematic hearing that will take place in Ōrākei."

Commissioner Anaru Erueti, of Ngā Ruahinerangi, Ngāti Ruanui and Te Ātihaunui ā Pāpārangi, says the public hearing will allow Māori survivors to share the circumstances of how they came into care," what happened to them in care, and the impacts of the abuse they suffered. The Inquiry will also hear culturally appropriate recommendations for transformative change.”

The land at Takaparawhā has been a place of great struggle for Māori, and the commissioner believes that this is a perfect place to have the hearing take place.

"Tumutumuwhenua has got a history that is quite significant for Aotearoa, so that was one of the reasons but also the fact that it sits in the heart of our biggest city."

Among the key kaupapa to be presented to the hearing will be the abuse suffered by Māori, and it will have wider ramifications for the country.

"It's crucially important kaupapa for Aotearoa, so we will be hearing from survivors talking about how they came into care, the circumstances and the harm, the hara that they experienced, and intergenerational impacts and the racial discrimination."

With the evidence that will be heard, it is important that Māori customs be upheld to clear the whare at Ōrākei of any negative energy.

"We will have the pōhiri that will give us the cloak of protection for the two weeks but every day we will be opening and closing with a karakia."