Royal Commission first step in 'addressing that injustice' - Moana Jackson

By Regan Paranihi

Survivors of the state care system have shared their own experiences during the Abuse in Care Royal Commission hearing taking place in Auckland City this week.

Victims say this hearing gives them hope for a better future for the next generation and this is an enquiry that is taking it back to where it all began.

Moana Jackson (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Porou) says, "This is a historical enquiry it looks at children who have been abused in care for the last half-century."

This hearing is also revealing some of the truths many of these victims endured many years ago.

"There have been generations particularly of Māori children who have been abused in care and they have suffered in silence and have been ignored, and that's part of the wider abusive process which is colonisation itself."

"They didn't listen to what we had to say in the past," adds Dr Rawiri Waretini-Karena (Ngāpuhi, Waikato) who was taken into care at the age of five.

The uplifting of children is an action that Moana Jackson says the crown took into their own hands.

"I don't see anything in Te Tiriti o Waitangi which gives the crown authority to take our children so that has to be addressed and that in the end iwi and hapū have to be entrusted once again with both the skill and the resources to care for our own children."

For many of these victims, they say colonisation has played a major role in the failures of this system.

"The purpose of these thoughts is colonisation, they stole our land, our language and our generations," says Dr Waretini-Karena.

"Why does the colonising state take so many indigenous children and I think that's where we should focus the question rather on what's wrong with Māori, what's wrong with colonising state," adds Jackson.

However, this hearing is a way forward for the betterment of New Zealand.

"The commission is the first step I think in addressing that injustice."

The Royal Commissions hearing process will continue on for the next two weeks