Māori survivors of abuse in State and faith-based care will share their experiences at the Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry’s Māori public hearing in March next year.

The hearing will be held at Ōrākei Marae in Tāmaki Makaurau from 7-18 Poutū-te-rangi (March) 2022.

The hearing was initially scheduled for Mahuru (September) this year but was postponed to protect the health of survivors and other attendees as COVID-19 spread through the community.

“Commissioners are committed to ensuring light is shed on the horrendous experiences Māori survivors have endured. Māori survivors need to be heard, and this important hearing will give them a powerful platform to share what happened to them and what needs to change to make sure abuse in care never happens again, e kore anō,” said Julia Steenson, Inquiry Commissioner and Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei leader.

“Māori are now, and have been historically, overrepresented in State and faith-based care and our interim findings show that Māori in care have been abused more than all other groups. The abuse that Māori survivors have suffered has had a huge impact throughout Māoridom. It has affected generations of Māori whānau in all aspects of their wellbeing, including cultural, social and economic aspects.

“We appreciate that COVID-19 has created substantial disruption to Māori communities, but we assure Māori survivors and their whānau that we are committed to holding the Māori hearing and they will continue to have a platform at the Abuse in Care Royal Commission,” said Commissioner Steenson.

Despite the delay to the hearing, the Royal Commission hasn’t stopped engaging with Māori and is continuing to meet with Māori survivors, iwi and other Māori groups.

“The Commission has been working closely with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei to design and guide the hearing. Māori have told us that the hearing needs to be led by tikanga Māori. We chose this date to allow enough time for Tāmaki Makaurau to move through its current COVID-19 lockdown restrictions so that the hearing can be held in person if possible to give this important kaupapa the cultural setting it deserves and allow people to attend,” said Commissioner Steenson.

Marama Royal, Chair of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust said, “We feel privileged to host the Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry Māori hearing in our wharenui Tumutumuwhenua and on our marae.”

The public hearing gives Māori survivors the opportunity to share the circumstances of how they came into care, what happened to them and the impacts of the abuse they suffered. Their experiences, along with those of the hundreds of Māori survivors who are sharing information with our Inquiry, will help inform our reports and recommendations to the Government.

Learn more about our Māori investigation here.