Lack of Maori Representation Concerns Iwi Chairs
Raniera T (Sonny) Tau; the Chairperson of Whānau Ora Iwi Leaders Group, has written to Hon Anne Tolley, expressing the concern of Iwi Chairs about the lack of Maori representation in the expert panel set up to review CYFS.
“At our recent hui at Whangaehu Marae (6 May) concerns were raised that it appeared Maori representation had been excluded from the Minister’s Expert Panel” said Mr Tau.
“And yet there is a disproportionately high number of Maori children who have been referred to youth justice facilities; to care and protection residences, or to the care of CYFS”.
“Maori have been saying for decades now, let us be the designer of our own solutions. It is somewhat confusing that a Government which has been bold enough to invest in Whānau Ora is unprepared to show that same test of faith in the care of our tamariki mokopuna”.
“Aotearoa can be proud of our reputation, internationally, for the ground-breaking legislation (the Children, Young Persons, and their Families Act 1989) including the principle the relationship between a child or young person and his or her family, whānau, hapū, iwi, and family group should be maintained and strengthened”.
“The provision in the Act for the Family Group Conference paved the way for involving whānau in decision-making about the care of their child. The FGC is a key legal mechanism for addressing child protection alongside the strengthening of whānau”.
“Given the demographic profile and the enthusiasm and commitment of Maori to be involved in reforming the child welfare system, we are extremely concerned at the actions of the Minister in keeping Maori expertise out of an area in which we have so much to offer”.