12 Sep 2020

Māori Party announces plan for entity to take over responsibility for Māori children in state care

2:55 pm on 12 September 2020

The Māori Party has announced plans to create an independent entity to take over the responsibility of Māori children in state care.

Mariameno Kapa-Kingi, Maori party candidate for Te Tai Tokerau

Māori Party candidate for Te Tai Tokerau, Mariameno Kapa-Kingi says Māori do not belong in generic state care. Photo: Supplied

This morning in Whangārei, the party announced plans to spend $600 million on a 'Mokopuna Māori Entity' which would be provided by Māori, for Māori, to Māori.

The party's candidate for Te Tai Tokerau, Mariameno Kapa-Kingi, says Māori do not belong in generic state care, they belong within whānau, hapū and iwi.

"Our babies make up 70 percent of children in state care and are effectively funded to stay with people to whom they have no whakapapa connection - mokopuna Māori do not belong in generic state care, they belong within whānau, hapū and iwi," Kapa-Kingi said.

"The latest global pandemic has created an opportunity for us to reset our compass for 'True North' and build our own kaupapa Māori system for Māori, by Māori, as Māori."

Kapa-Kingi, who is a qualified social worker, told RNZ the current system was failing Māori.

"The current system, what it does not understand is who Māori are and the way we believe, function and live.

"This doesn't work, certainly it doesn't work for Māori - let's step aside and do this."

She said the current system was "fundamentally racist and flawed" as it was rooted in Western ways of living.

"Every mokopuna gets a pākehā response. You're speaking in pākehā, thinking in pākehā and the models being applied are pākehā.

"We're smart people. We're smart Māori-thinking people. We know what's best for us. We do not need anyone non-Māori tell us what we need anymore. It's just our time."

The plan would also create a partnership network with Māori organisations as well as hapū and iwi, to help children remain connected to their whakapapa.

In a statement, the party said through this entity, the allocated funding, and the partnership network, "we will rightfully reclaim our tino rangatiratanga as protected under Article 2 of Te Tiriti in respect of the greatest taonga of all - our mokopuna".

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