Each survivor who attends a private session is given the opportunity to send a Message to New Zealand. In these messages they talk about their experiences of State and faith-based care and their hopes for creating a better way of caring for our children, young people and vulnerable adults in the future. Here, New Zealand, are their messages to you.
Please note, you may find some content disturbing or confronting. If you need help visit support services.
Being fully aware during my presentation that I was only one of many boys and girls placed in children’s religious care homes and that I remain emotion(ally) controlled; this was effective due to the venue provided. This venue was comfortable, personally centred, a humanistic approach, no time limits imposed. I had the freedom of speech, supportive, caring respectful environment in which sensitive issues were presented, ie there was trust of the Commission’s team, feeling and respect.
Personally, I felt humbled by the support of those present.
It is my opinion that in Marlborough a facility could be established (non State or Religious) with an Outward Bound approach to care for the children in need. A model well monitored to assure a set philosophy and social mission is effective. This could be linked to the youth training system and Cactus programme established in Blenheim.
Finally and personally I feel the baseline for fully recognising that all humans are unique and individual and temporary residents on this planet, and that all efforts need to be in place for each person to have a high quality and purposeful life, and all basic needs of love, shelter, personal and social care needs are in place and met.Sincere thanks to those whom gave me support with my presentation.
Dear New Zealand
I would like to share my views and thoughts on sate of care also known as Zips (CYFS now Oranga Tamariki) today. I am a true survivor from birth when I was uplifted and taken into care in 1970. The things that need to change that I can see is that in order for a children, ie children, to have a better and safer upbringing they should be placed in a permanent residents (home) mainly with their families. It not a family and monitored with a mentor or person who can help them out. Also assist them out to help them meet those needs. Family First is what comes first yes but if any child is subjected to abuse in the family then why can’t this be addressed and looked at too. Help the parents become better parents. When a child gets brought up and put throu so many placements, this is not good. The child he/she doesn’t have time for love, loses a good education, loses out on communication skills. Trust no one. This is a little part of my views and thoughts. Thanks.
PS, What I would like is an apology and to be reimbursed for things that I cannot do but give to future of our tamariki (children) to make NZ a safer place.
Hutia te rito. O te Harakeke. Kei whea te kamok e. When the heart is torn from the flax bush. Where will the bellbird sing. Harakeke calls. Use the lengths of my leaves to climb up to the oceans to the heavens. Rest awhile and float with the [illegible] of my [illegible]. Above all remember. My spring. My summer and my fall.
We need to accept it. We need to change it. And become one with it.Don’t be afraid of the dark there is light at the end.
Me No more.
I was playing by the sea shore when a bad man first took me. I was only four. Yeah I was only four and I was me no more. I am me no more
For my own sake I’m many years late remembering the first night they took away my ability to fight. Thy drugged me up and held me down. And they shared me all around. They violated me with violence under a bright light and as the camera clicked my mind learned anew trick. It left me there in that room and ran down on the beach outside until it tripped and fell on the rocks in my shell. Now I know there are no rocks on that beach other than those beyond realities reach. Now I can see me form behind the light. I’m cowering in the corner. I’m on the floor and I am me no more. I am me no more.
One boy died inside that night. And I was made. I was made this way. Yeah Lady, I was made this way and now I know. I know I will forever be me no more. I am me no more.
For my own sake I’m many years late remembering the second night they took away my ability to fight. They tied me up and they tied me down and they shared me all around. They then turned me over and they made sure. They made sure I was me no more. I am me no more.
One boy died inside that night. And I was made. I was made this way. Yeah Lady, I was made this way and so now I know. I know I will forever be me no more. I am me no more.I’ve spent my life trying to understand who the hell I am. But now there’s only one thing I really understand. There’s only one thing I know for sure. I am me no more. I am me no more.
You are a survivor. Be proud. Be strong. Never be alone again. We can build a better future.
My placement in the Tikipunga Orphanage was an illegal placement. I was only four and a half. I had to be 5 and life from there on was hell with all sorts of abuse. I believe the stress of this has caused my cancer and my TIAs. All state wards I’ve met for the 2nd time have been in gangs and other fields that have been destructive and the cause was our state care or the lack of it I should say.
Referring to Onehunga Boys Home, Owairaka Boys Home as it was in the 1950s. All I can think about is both homes could have let us get more involved in sports at the boys’ home etc. Indoor bowls, table tennis, darts and letting us get involved with the schools on Saturdays. These are my works spoke as my writing is very poor. My wife has written it for me. Thank you.
I understand that a lot of children placed in care these days are affected by the drugs and alcohol that may have been consumed during the pregnancy of the mother. Therefore it has manifested in the poor children. This can in turn result in a difficulty in the child’s behaviour, which in turn angers or aggravates the carer, hence violence.
It is a very special person, not just a willy nilly, a family member that is capable or really should be allowed to take on the responsibility of doing what is a very specialised and important job. Patient, fair but firm, but most importantly constantly monitored and well paid. Perhaps a Royal Commission Training Progamme developed.
“I am profoundly sorry for your experience in that staff at the South Community Mental Health Team did not attend to your needs in a way that was helpful and useful. I apologise for the times when staff have been less than empathic towards meeting your needs and less than helpful in assisting you to alleviate the distress that has so immobilised you over the years. You have suffered greatly and I am deeply sort that as a service, we have not been able to help you in a meaningful way.”
Otago District Health Board letter received 26 august 2010
DON’T GET SICK
Absolutely love your kids and grandkids!
If I had a message for New Zealand it is this take care of our children! They are our national treasures and the future. Love them to bits! Too many of our beautiful children are lost lonely and forgotten. Pull up your socks adult New Zealanders! Look around – Children are our most precious commodity – make them the centre of our universe – be there for them.
I was a ward of the state from 1953-1959 I was 6yrs old when taken into care. During this time I attended 9 schools. Had 8 sets of foster parents and lived in a childrens home 3 times. All this and no fault of my own. I was physically – mentally and sexually abused. Unwanted and unloved the scars remain today. I was always looking in, never looking out. How could this happen? It was going on here in this country and those in authority just looked the other way. Don’t do it ever again or the children will look back on their lives and remember only sadness - like me.
On my view, governmental systemic injustices have failed many youth of our past and present in their many attempts to control outcomes that never heard the cries for help from traumatised individuals; troubled youth in particular. From my own previous experience within state care institutions, I strongly believe; to ensure those unfortunate, traumatising events do not repeat themselves it be absolutely imperative any state care institutions providing the support, care and protection of any nature for our youth have policies in place that reflect their purposes and intentions with a strong emphasis in providing safe mechanisms/avenues for any complaint to be heard without fear of any type of punishment or retributions for speaking out. In my time spent as ward of the state, rather than be seen as a child in need, I was frowned upon and seen as a troublesome deviant. Having no control over my life, I became violent within institutions in order for me to survive, having authorities continuously telling me, I got what I deserved. The motto was for children/young persons “to be seen but not heard”. I know the first step to righting the wrongs, to bridging the gap, is to finally give our youth a voice. Children/young persons should not only be seen but also be heard; without any discrimination in regards to age, sex or ethnicity. Long gone are the days where adult authority must prevail. How do you compensate for time living with traumatic experiences? Living in the shadows bearing the pain and scars of your past. By telling your story to the “Royal Commission of Inquiry” is a huge step and takes enormous courage, knowing that finally all those unheard cries for help are finally opening doors, that would normally be closed.
I encourage any individual affected by institutional abuse; to register with the “Royal Commission of Inquiry” to allow positive outcomes for future generations.
Fight to the death against these ignorant stuck up (redacted) who portray themselves as leaders. Do not let anybody dictate the value of life and the limited time we have on earth because energy transfers so there is more – bet my life on it.
Social workers should not be allowed to drug children – Tired and warn out parents just need a rest. It should be stopped. If Dept. can’t handle kids without drugging them they shouldn’t be in child care at all. My findings of most kids drugged in care have mainly all ended up with drug problems or have been shunted off to mental health. That is not growth for anybody in economy for a better wellbeing. It’s putting all you have in your work to a liability of all they have tended to have drugged.
“All abusive systems are facilitated by bystanders, whose awareness of what is disavowed is always partial, resulting in a state of knowing and not knowing. As dynamics shift, bystanders may have like victims – passive, helpless, frightened and frozen, or like perpetrators – taking vicarious and voyeuristic pleasure in abuse or actively aiding and abetting abusers”
WE ARE ALL BYSTANDERS !!
Please listen to survivors, even when it hurts. The most vulnerable members of your communities need you to listen, to care and to help. If good people are courageous, we can stop abuse.
“If we always do what we’ve always done then we’re always going to get what we’ve always got!” We are a product of our environment! New Zealand our kids are our future, let’s stop hurting them and start nurturing, protecting and investing more positivity into the kids of our country!! Stand up NZ keep our kids safe.
From seven to seventy-two
I stood to read my story before the class on the mat. While my new teacher sat beside me at his desk. A man who should have been my guide. But instead put his hands into my pants. And carried out further acts behind the blackboard. He took from me sweet memories of learning and turned them to fear. He embedded in my mind that I would fail at the height of achievement. He embedded in my emotions that I was a victim waiting for abuse. And he stole from me the sense of trust in teachers. So that I did not attempt university until I was forty-seven. The repeated violations did not just take my childhood. They created a battle within my psyche to give myself value. I may be seventy-two years old but in some ways I’m still seven. But now I have told the Royal Commission all that he did. I have released the loneliness of my internal grief. I discovered years later there had been a trial. Where my teacher was accused of violating several girls in my class. And he had been acquitted by an all-male jury. But he had threatened to kill my mother and me. And left me too frightened to tell. Now I’ve told my story before the Commissioner. Felt some of the life-long burden flow out with my tears. I am no longer hidden inside my trauma. I have taken the first steps towards healing. The mental and emotional pain of sexual abuse. And am seeing consolation through counselling.