Māori singled out by child welfare agencies

Thousands of Māori children have been singled out by child welfare agencies and taken into state care since the 1940’s.

These findings come after research by a senior lecturer at the University of Auckland shows the Ministry of Social Development process for the care of children by the state does not work.

The findings have also ignited a claim lodged to the Waitangi Tribunal today calling for an urgent independent inquiry into the abuse of Māori youth in state care.

Leading the claim is Auckland University law lecturer Andrew Erueti who spoke with Kawe Kōrero Reporters.

He says many Māori youth have suffered physical, sexual and psychological abuse and neglect while in state care because they were simply “singled out”.

“Many of them were shunted from one institution to another.”

Erueti says one claimant was taken into state care at eight-years-old and left at age 16 after being passed around to 15 institutions including Lake Alice Hospital, where he was given shock treatment.

He says, “in the 70’s for example, if you’re looking at institutions across the North Island, they were filled up with Māori kids”.

Erueti also says the over-representation of Māori in prisons can be traced back to the over-representation of Māori youth in state care.

Erueti hopes the Waitangi Tribunal will initiate a hearing for the claim.