Te Enga Harris is of Māori descent and is the oldest of her siblings, who were also put through the State care system. Te Enga suffered the trauma of physical, verbal and sexual abuse in care. When she eventually left care, she felt failed by the Crown. Te Enga also tells the stories of her whānau members who did not survive the ongoing effects of the abuse they suffered, and the intergenerational impact this abuse has had on her entire whānau.
Joyce Harris and her twin sister were placed in care together and didn't see their whānau for ten years. Joyce speaks to their intertwined experiences of abuse in foster care and girls’ homes, living on the streets and finding refuge in gangs. She speaks about her twin's battle with depression and placement in mental institutions, her own pregnancy at age 12 from being sexually abused by her foster father, and the intergenerational effects of this on her tamariki and mokopuna. This included her daughter dying while in the care of Child, Youth and Family Services, and her children, mokopuna and now great-grand-children being placed in care.
Mereani Harris was made a State ward as a young child, which she says was the end of her happiness. She suffered physical and sexual abuse in care and was not provided with adequate support by social workers. This resulted in anger and loss, including the loss of her cultural connections. Mereani discusses the impact this abuse has had on her life, and on the lives of her whānau.
Stuart Harris is a descendent of Ngāti Pikiao, Te Rarawa and Ngāti Uenuku. Stuart is Joyce’s son. Stuart was placed in State care at a young age and during this time suffered physical, verbal and sexual abuse. He struggled with social workers who failed to care for him and was passed on to the youth justice system and then the criminal justice system. After spending a lot of time in prison, he is now trying to heal and live his life differently.