National | Child abuse

Abused Māori begin contributions to royal commission

Māori survivors who were abused in state care and religious or faith-based institutions will begin giving testimony to the Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry this week.

The survivors and their whānau will share their experiences of being abused in care while they were tamariki or vulnerable adults, and the impacts the tūkino or abuse have had on them and their whānau.

The hearing will explore physical, sexual, psychological and racist abuse. Preliminary research suggests Māori who were deaf, disabled, LGBTQIA+ or of Pasifika descent were disproportionately affected.

Māori survivors and advocates will provide their vision of what a transformed care system should look like for Māori.

The hearing was planned to be held at Ōrākei marae in Tāmaki Makaurau. However, due to Covid-19 Protection Framework restrictions, witnesses will provide evidence remotely by video link and the hearing will be livestreamed on the royal commission website.

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei gifted the hearing the name “Tō muri te pō roa, tērā a Pokopoko Whiti-te-rā”. It refers to hope and healing for survivors of abuse in care, after years of darkness.

Survivors will testify to the royal commission through 2022 and their experiences will inform a final report to be delivered in June 2023.

An interim report into the experiences and impacts of Māori who were abused in care will be delivered in the first quarter of 2023.