We explored the notion of “redress” and restoration, from a te ao Māori perspective through several mechanisms, including private sessions and interviews with Māori survivors, hui with our pou tikanga, iwi leaders, online wānanga and hui and through a kaupapa Māori research project. Our work investigating this area is ongoing and will be addressed in more detail in a future report.
From these engagements, participants were consistent in their messages that Māori need to be resourced to exercise their tino rangatiratanga in the development, design and implementation of any potential scheme, and that a scheme should be survivor centred, intergenerational and whakapapa focused, tikanga based, and framed not as “redress” but as a commitment to providing justice, restoring mana and oranga and empowering whānau. Many described the need for an inclusive, culturally responsive process, with some advocating for a separate process for people who wish to choose a te ao Māori approach. This is consistent with the concept of te mana tāngata.
As with survivors generally, the term “redress” did not resonate with many Māori. Rather they said:
“[I]t’s about empowering whānau, it’s about empowering whakapapa and restoring balance, because of the connotations that come with the idea of redress being more of a monetary transaction and not necessarily reflecting Te Ao Māori.”
Any scheme must therefore include more than pūtea or financial compensation. Rather, we heard that the foundational principle of any scheme should be utua kia ea – to account for tūkino and restore mana to achieve a state of restoration and balance. This means healing for survivors and their whānau needs to be at the heart of any process. It must recognise and acknowledge the tūkino suffered, provide the right support and resources for survivors to restore their mana and mauri, and connect or reconnect with their whānau, whakapapa and mātauranga Māori.
The kōrero was clear that we should be focusing on “what is necessary to restore the mana of Māori taken and abused in State or faith-based care and their whānau, hapū, iwi and/or hāpori”. Reframing “redress” in this way reflects the greater breadth and depth of individual and collective justice and healing needed. To be supported by a “mana-enhancing” system would enable the transformation of the lives of survivors and their whānau.
When asked about the role of Māori in the design, establishment and implementation of a new puretumu scheme, participants and survivors were clear that Māori needed to be leading all processes, “it should be Māori led, Māori designed, and Māori run”. Whānau, hapū, and iwi need to be involved, and at the decision-making table, from the very beginning:
“We’re talking about Māori mana motuhake as it means to us in terms of whānau, hapū and iwi, where it means our taking our rightful place in our country and being responsible and being participatory in everything to do with the decisions that are made about us in our country.
“Whānau, hapū and iwi need to be leading [any redress process] because they have the mana, tino rangatiratanga, and duty to care for their own; a duty sourced from whakapapa.”
“– we are the kaitiaki of our tamariki and our mokopuna. Full stop. We don’t need anybody else’s authority to tell us what to do, but we would appreciate their help, to help us do what we want to do. For our families, our whānau, and our hapū.”
We also heard that any scheme must also be led by survivors. This means survivors will determine what restoration of mana means for them, how that happens, and who is involved.
Participants also confirmed that a survivor-centred approach needs to reflect tino rangatiratanga, or right to self-determination, and mana motuhake, the ability to manage own affairs, and that it is critical Māori survivors have a voice and are empowered in a new puretumu scheme.
“… one principle that came out of our breakout session was this; nā te mōrehu te mana. Translated, nā te mōrehu, by the survivor; te mana, the mana. Meaning, it could be interpreted several ways, one of which is it’s to be led by the survivor.”
Participants said that survivors should be supported in connecting and reconnecting to their whānau, hapū, iwi, hāpori and their whakapapa if that’s what they want, as part of their journey towards the restoration of their mana and oranga.
Ultimately, we heard that solutions will be different for each survivor and their whānau, hapū, iwi and hāpori. Survivors must be supported in dictating and leading their own kaupapa and must be resourced to do so.
We also heard that intergenerational healing is needed. The tūkino suffered by a survivor also affects their whānau, hapū and iwi. Repairing the tūkino and restoring balance, therefore, also needs to focus on the the oranga of whānau, hapū, and iwi.
“[T]he paramountcy or the wellbeing of our whānau actually hasn’t been the focus and in many ways that has been breached and its impact has been severe, not just on the individual, because when our tamariki are abused in places where they are meant to feel safe, it is felt intergenerationally. It is an abuse on our whakapapa.”
During one of the engagement hui hosted by the Kīngitanga, we also heard the following views:
“How should tikanga be incorporated into the scheme? Tikanga is the scheme.”
“[T]he tikanga is, He aha te me nui o te ao? He tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata. You would start with their voice, their mamae … therefore your system is derived from them, derived from the outside, and therefore the management, the measures that you use for the success of that system comes from them, because anything else is abstract.”
“How should tikanga be incorporated in a redress scheme? Boy, we had a huge kōrero on that one. There’s tikanga Ngāti Porou, there’s tikanga Waikato, there’s tikanga Te Arawa, and there’s also something called tikanga whakapono. How should tikanga be incorporated in a redress system? Tikanga is about relationships, and things will flow from those relationships.”
We heard that tikanga Māori is also about “doing things right”. The appropriate tikanga will vary, not only from iwi to iwi, but also for each survivor, and their whānau, and hapū. Any scheme must take this into account and be flexible to allow for different parties to work within their own tikanga.
Next: Pacific expectations – healing the vā