Whanau must step up to help prevent child abuse
The Maori Party is urging extended whanau to step in when they know child abuse is going on in their extended families.
The Government has released a framework for legislation to protect vulnerable children and to support the Children’s
Action Plan today which includes making the heads of five government departments accountable for protecting and
improving the lives of vulnerable children.
“Protecting all tamariki from harm and abuse is fundamental to any society which values its children. It is not just
extended whanau that must take action. Our children are all our responsibility. It must be a collaborative approach
between government, parents, whanau or extended families, teachers, caregivers, hapu and iwi,” says Maori Party
Co-leaders, Tariana Turia and Te Ururoa Flavell.
“When our children are being neglected and abused, everyone involved in that child’s life who knows this is going on
needs to step in to stop the abuse. That could be extended whanau, neighbours or teachers. The Maori Party supported the
Section 59 legislation because we are opposed to any kind of violence against children. And we will continue to do all
that we can to enable our children to flourish and thrive.”
“We expect that government agencies and extended whanau, hapu and iwi will develop stronger working relationships in the
interests of preventing child neglect and abuse. Extended whanau play a vital role in a child’s upbringing and that role
must be respected. When placing children in the care of those other than their own parents we should not be placing
children outside the extended whanau when the extended whanau are capable and willing to care for the child when the
“Children should never be alienated from the essence of who they are and every effort should be made to ensure they are
placed within their extended whanau. It is the role of the Government to support communities and the extended whanau to
fulfil their responsibilities to step in and take care of those children who can no longer be cared for by their
parents,” says Mrs Turia and Mr Flavell.