The impacts of abuse in State and faith-based care have been felt far beyond the individual survivor. Families, whānau, hapū, iwi and wider communities have lost their children and young people to institutional care. Some disabled adults remained (and some still remain) in institutional care for decades, even their entire lives. Some of these survivors were permanently cut off from their whānau and community.
While survivors understood redress in fairly narrow terms, many Māori see restoration as a broader concept involving whole communities, and in particular younger generations. Dr Rawiri Waretini-Karena described this as “the intergenerational ripple effects stemming from previous New Zealand Governments, and their focus on systemically breaking down traditional Māori societies”. For most Māori survivors, their removal from whānau has had a lifelong impact on their overall well-being, sense of belonging and place in the world, diminishing their mana and the mana of their whānau, hapū and iwi. Many survivors carry a deep sense of shame or whakamā at being unable to speak their own language and suffer what has been described to us as ‘language trauma’.
Neta Kerepeti said the connection or reconnection with whānau had been the most effective way of restoring her life. Beyond redress, system change was needed to ensure that “whānau, hapū, and iwi Māori are equipped to support our own”.
Some survivors have become angry, violent or depressed as a result of whānau dislocation and the abuse they suffered, and are keenly aware that their loved ones have suffered the consequences of that behaviour. Survivors said redress should include help for those individuals, too.
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