27 Jun 2014

Maori urged to own up to abuse

1:17 pm on 27 June 2014

Tangata whenua need to own up to the high rates of child abuse in their whanau and find solutions within Maori culture, a leader in Maori mental health services says.

The Family Violence Death Review Committee report, released this week, found 139 people died from family violence and family violence-related homicides from 2009 to 2012.

It showed that Maori adults were nearly five times more likely to be responsible for child abuse and neglect deaths than adults of other ethnicities.

Te Paepae Arahi clinical director Carl Hutchby said child abuse and domestic violence stemmed from the fact many Maori had been isolated from their culture, which was similar to tangata whenua in other countries.

He said Maori needed to take responsibility for the fact that those problems were happening in their own whanau.

Other indigenous people he had spoken to all agreed that to address the problems, they needed to go through a process of decolonisation, which acknowledged how they had been assimilated into European culture and had lost their cultural identity, Mr Hutchby said.