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Ed Sheeran

Inquiry needed for state wards to heal

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Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa says an inquiry into historic abuse of children and young people in state care is essential, whether it is done by the Waitangi Tribunal or an independent body set up for the job.

Andrew Erueti from Te Mata Law has asked the Waitangi Tribunal for an urgent inquiry into what happened and whether there was systemic bias that led to disproportionate numbers of Maori children being taken from their whanau and put into institutions.

The Government is resisting calls from Race Relations Commissoner Dame Susan Devoy, the Human Rights Commission and opposition parties for an independent inquiry.

Mr Flavell says time and again he has heard stories from people who were institutionalised about the physical, emotional and spiritual harm done to them.

" Life in those institutions was hell for many and they were traumatised by the experience and therefore it would serve a huge benefit I think to allow that process to take place, an inquiry, such that we get it out on the table, acknowledge something happened, whatever it may be, and then people might say 'at least now our story has been heard and we can move on,'" he says.

Mr Flavell says while compensation may be an issue, it shouldn't be an excuse for not having an inquiry.


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