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Ed Sheeran

Children's report chance for transformational change
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The Children’s Commissioners say the state needs to trust Māori to come up with a better system for how they will look after children who need care and protection.

The second part of the commission’s Te Kuku O Te Manawa report on Oranga Tamariki released yesterday calls for a devolution of responsibility, resources and power to Māori and iwi.

Commissioner Andrew Becroft says everyone they talked to agreed the current model is fundamentally flawed, and it can’t be fixed by tinkering or further reviews.

Assistant Māori Commissioner Glenis Philip-Barbara says it comes back to the Puao te Ata Tu report of 1989 which identified how the state struggles to understand what Māori mean by whānau.

"We’re thinking of course of our hundreds of relations, thousands if we are lucky, who are all connected together by whakapapa and often by kaupapa too, so we are thinking of a much broader group of people who offer all kinds of possibilities when a little family unit, a smaller unit may be struggling with whatever issues they are struggling with, but we known intrinsically every human being needs to belong, it is a fundamental human thing, and for us as Māori that belonging finds expression in whānau," she says.

Glenis Philip-Barbara says the Te Kuku O Te Manawa offers a real possibility for transformational change that will allow Māori children to flourish rather than suffer.

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