Māori should lead state care changes

By Regan Paranihi

A former ward of the state and social work practitioner Paora Moyle, Ngāti Porou, says Māori need to be key drivers in the discussions for any change within New Zealand's state care system. 

Moyle made the statement at the annual Waitangi Rua Rautau Lectures in Rotorua.

"We experienced things children are not supposed to experience," she says. "When you are told that mum and dad don't want you, you actually believe it."

Moyle survived fourteen years in state care and has turned her life around to help those who may walk in her shoes.

"If they're not on the table and if they're not understood then how do we know what the solutions are?" she says.

Moyle says that uplifting tamariki from families is a colonial intervention that weakens Māori whānau.

"I think the ideal model of well being is whānau itself. You need to come back to a kaupapa Māori model. It is a Māori business to take care of our own."

Annette Sykes says the Government needs to bring the decision making back to the iwi and communities.

"What are the thoughts of all of our chiefs and our tribes in New Zealand about this topic? Maybe the answer is to follow the same vision," says Sykes.

She also adds that some of their financial investments could be better spent on these children.

"I see that in the provincial growth fund they want to plant billions of trees, however, what is the cure for the next billion children who will be under this umbrella?"

The children are at the forefront of these discussions and according to these two Māori women that's where they need to start in order to move forward.