NZ's first plan to halt family and sexual violence

By Whatitiri Te Wake

The first nationwide strategy aimed at eliminating family and sexual violence was launched today at Te Papa where the Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence and Sexual Violence, Marama Davidson, says racism and colonisation are major drivers in violence, and dealing with those issues will ensure better outcomes for whānau across the country.

Kirikirioa Whānau Service Trust chief executive Nicole Coupe welcomes the strategy and is confident that, by having genuine input from communities,  changes will occur. She says this is much more than just another government strategy

“Bureaucrats did not write this. This was developed, designed through wananga by Māori by women's organisations, by takatāpui. It’s written by the community so we've all had a hand on the pene, we've all had an ability to change the words,” she says.

This morning Davidson was explicit about some of the driving factors for the shocking family violence statistics for Māori

“Te Aorerekura references how the combination of racism and colonisation and sexism in Aotearoa increases impacts associated with the intergenerational trauma for wahine Māori.”

Although Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says there are an array of reasons the statistics are the way they are – she wasn’t prepared to echo Davidson's statement.

“My view is that there is a range, a huge range, and you would have heard me speak today about the impacts of poverty, the impacts of past experience,” she says.

“The plan has 40 actions that prioritise specific streams of work to curb violence in the home. Coupled with that, the cabinet signed off on a tangata whenua advisory group that will report directly to the minister.

“This leadership input is an important and crucial improvement to the whole system and will ensure that Te Ao Māori informs our implementation strategy and that we are accountable to that leadership."

Agencies now turn their focus on both an investment plan and an implementation plan. As the Māori proverb says: 'It is feathers that enable a bird to fly.'