Child Welfare: Māori and Aboriginal peoples can learn from each other

Child Welfare: Māori and Aboriginal peoples can learn from each other


The Maori Select Committee has recently returned from
a special hearing at the invitation of
the Australian government to discuss the issue of health and welfare of its
Aboriginal children. We cross back
to our Wellington studio to talk with Hone Harawira
of the Mana Party. What are the main issues affecting Aborignal children
in Australia? It’s just the same as the kids here in NZ, in Hawaii and Tahiti. The kids are hungry,
there are housing issues, the government’s
lack of support in maintaining their own cultural
education and customs. All those sorts of things.
Just the same. This is not a first for you
travelling to Alice Springs. Has there been an improvement
in community services from your last visit? No. The reason for my first visit
was because I didn’t agree with what their National Government
of the time was doing to the indigenous people of
the Northern Territory. This year we travelled over
there to talk with the people, and it’s still the same, even though the government
has changed and laws have changed. They’re still there lacking of food and all those things
that affect people in poverty. In comparison with Maori child
health and welfare issues, who is better off? If you go there, they’ll say that
we’re the ones better off. But in my opinion, if my iwi was considered
to be in a good position, despite some of my family
being at the bottom, then we’re all still
in dire straits. So, over there we saw
they had some good initiatives that we could learn from
and vice versa. It’s still the same. They have different methods, but if
we support the good things there and they see the good things here,
then we’ll both be better off. What exactly is the Australian
government doing to improve the health and welfare
of Aboriginal children? It’s just the same as what
they’re doing here – spending a lot of money on things that the government
sees as need fixing. It’s not as if
they’re helping the iwi to stand strong on their own. What I say to the government
is just the same as theirs – don’t just give money
for the sake of giving money; give money in order for them and us
to stand on our own two feet. Hone Harawira,
thank you for joining us.

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