Inquiry Chair Coral Shaw has urged the New Zealand Māori Council to engage with the Commission at her first formal speaking opportunity as new head of the Commission.

In a recent speech to the hui at the Tangatarua Marae in Rotorua, Coral said the Māori Council was an essential stakeholder whose support and buy-in would be crucial to the success of the Inquiry.

“We know there is a pipeline – from State care, into the justice system and on to prison – where Māori continue to be over represented and where children, young people and vulnerable adults often suffer neglect and hideous abuse, a loss of identification and personal connections to their iwi and hapu.”

All of New Zealand needs to hear what happened, understand how it has impacted on our society, as well as the individuals, and make proper acknowledgement of this dark part of our history.  It goes back decades, and it continues to this day,” she said.

The Inquiry’s Terms of Reference acknowledge that a significant number of those people removed from their families and placed in care are from Māori families.

“I strongly urge the Maori Council to engage with the Royal Commission and for those of you with other networks and links in te ao Māori to encourage all of those to do so as well. If we are to stop the abuse and neglect of our Māori babies and young people we have to find Māori solutions. The Commission cannot and should not do that on its own. We need all the help and ideas that we can get.”