Gangs’ first-ever joint hui to discuss State’s role in their formation, Royal Commission invited
Gang whānau have come together in solidarity today to share the impacts of abuse many of them experienced in State care as children.
The Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry was invited to attend the hui by Hikoi Nation, a think-tank created to develop ideas, policies and strategies for positive changes and outcomes in gang whānau regardless of background and affiliations.
Around 200 attendees were given an opportunity to share their lived experiences in State and Faith-based care and the impact it had on them.
“Gang whānau are a unique and important part of Aotearoa’s survivor community. Many suffered abuse and neglect in State and faith-based care as children, young people and vulnerable adults. We want to listen to them and learn from their experiences,” said Royal Commission Chair Coral Shaw.
“Gang whānau told us that as innocent tamariki they were taken from their families, put in care and then alienated, marginalised, abused and discriminated against,” she said.
“For many, being placed in care meant they lost contact with family, community, culture, language, identity and whakapapa, which many later struggled to regain.
“Many told us that they turned to gangs to find the whānau that they lost,” said Shaw.
The Waitangi Tribunal has acknowledged the connection between State care and gangs, noting that an estimated 80 to 90 per cent of Mongrel Mob and Black Power gang whānau had been in State ward.
The experiences shared by gang survivors, alongside other survivor stories, research and case studies will help inform the Royal Commission’s recommendations to the Government when the final report is presented to the Governor-General in June 2023.
About the Inquiry
The Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry is investigating the abuse of children, young people and vulnerable adults within State and faith-based institutions in Aotearoa New Zealand between 1950-1999. We can also learn from the experiences of survivors who have been in care after 1999. The Royal Commission will deliver its final report in June 2023.
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