Noa'ia, Mauri, Ni sa bula vinaka, Fakaalofa lahi atu, Tālofa, Kia orana, Mālō e lelei, Mālō nī, Talofa lava, Tēnā koutou katoa.  

Why this Inquiry?

For decades, many survivors, individuals, community groups, and international human rights bodies have called for an independent inquiry into historical abuse and neglect of children, young people and vulnerable adults in State care and in the care of faith-based institutions in New Zealand.

In response to these calls, the New Zealand Government established a Royal Commission of Inquiry – this is the most serious type of independent investigation into a major issue of public importance.

The Inquiry was established to look at what happened and why, and the period we are looking at is 1950-1999 (but we can look at situations of abuse outside those years up until the present day).

Why Pacific People?

State Care

There is an acknowledgement by the Government that a significant number of those removed from their families and placed in care were from Pacific communities, and that Pacific People have been disproportionately represented in care. The Inquiry’s investigation into the experiences of Pacific People will recognise this, together with the status of Pacific People within an increasingly diverse New Zealand. 

Pacific People were encouraged to migrate to Aotearoa post-war for mainly labour intensive related jobs. The ‘Dawn Raids’ and other Government laws, policies and practices which followed have had, and continue to have, a negative impact on our families, communities and society, contributing to the over-representation of Pacific People in State care.

Faith-based Care

For Pacific People, life has traditionally been built around the family, the Church and the village.  In Aotearoa, the Church has often taken on the role of the village as well, and leaders within the Church held in the highest regard.  Combined with core Pacific values (including, but not limited to, humility and respect towards authority), many Pacific survivors of abuse remain silent.

Our investigation

The Pacific People’s investigation will look into themes and survivor experiences that are relevant across all State and faith-based settings where abuse of Pacific People occurred. A scope document for the investigation is being prepared and will be available here shortly.  

The Pacific People’s investigation will work alongside the Inquiry’s other investigations into abuse across all State and faith-based care settings. Information about the Inquiry’s current investigations can be found here.

What is abuse?

Abuse can include physical, sexual, emotional and psychological abuse, and neglect. Neglect can be physical, emotional and psychological, medical, educational, spiritual or cultural neglect. 

What is care?

When we talk about abuse in care, we are looking at State care and faith-based care.

State care – this can include foster care or adoption, if you were in the care of Oranga Tamariki/Child Youth and Family/Social Welfare, police or court cells, youth justice placements, residential children’s homes, disability and psychiatric care and facilities, and schools. If the Government was responsible for your care, then this could be within the scope of what we are investigating.

Faith-based institutions – this can include our Churches, religious schools or Church camps, and pastoral care. If the Church was responsible for your care, then this could be within the scope of what we are investigating.

Why should Pacific survivors and witnesses come forward?

We are walking in a tapu space and we acknowledge this. Abuse is not something Pacific People often feel comfortable talking about, and it is a sensitive issue across all Pacific cultures.

We understand that some survivors might wish to leave the past behind or feel they have worked through the abuse suffered, or have forgiven their offender or feel too ashamed or too scared to come forward.    

It is so important for our stories of abuse in care to be heard. This will help us make findings about what happened, and recommendations to the Government and to faith-based institutions on things that need to change about the way they provide care, to ensure that abuse does not happen again in the future.  

This is a survivor-led process, the information you share will remain confidential if you wish, and you can remain anonymous if you wish. We also have a team of Pacific People working within the Inquiry who can assist you through the process, if you would feel more comfortable dealing with Pacific People.

Hearing accounts from and about Pacific victims and survivors will help the Inquiry to build a picture of the experiences of Pacific People in State care and in the care of faith-based institutions, and their unique Pacific perspective which we want to capture in our findings.

Your individual story, combined with many other stories, will give us the opportunity to make recommendations that, if implemented, will transform the way we care for our people in the future. To do this we need to look back in order to look forward and lift the lid on the abuse that our Pacific People have suffered.

What can you do to help?

If you or someone you know has information relevant to our inquiry or you have any questions arising from the information above then please call us confidentially on 0800 222 727 or register online.

If you only wish to speak to someone in the Pacific People’s investigation team, you may contact tania.sharkey@abuseincare.org.nz. Alternatively, please click the link to go directly to our registration page.

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