Wellington, June 30, 2017
New Zealanders who were abused as children and vulnerable adults while in state care are calling on other survivors and supporters to join them at Parliament on Thursday, July 6, 2017 as they present an open letter and petition to MPs for a public inquiry and apology.
This is about justice for all New Zealanders. We need to know our Government cares about children and people with disabilities and will do everything in its power to investigate abuse and to put things right,” Disability Commissioner Paul Gibson said.
“The current Government may not have been in power when the abuse took place but they can be the Government that makes sure it never happens again,” Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy said.
“A lot of decision makers have never met a survivor of state abuse: this is an opportunity for them to do so. This is about justice and uplifting mana,” said Karen Johansen, Indigenous Rights Commissioner.
Five decades of suffering
Between the 1950s and 1990s more than 100,000 vulnerable children and adults were taken from their families and placed in children’s homes and mental health institutions where many suffered sexual, physical and psychological abuse. The extent of abuse is unknown as the abuse has never been fully or publicly investigated.
Their suffering took place in a range of institutions at locations across New Zealand over several decades. While some children were taken from families for little or no reason at all, Maori children were particularly targeted with some state homes reporting that upwards of 80 per cent of youngsters were Maori.
In February 2017, several prominent New Zealanders wrote an open letter calling for a wide ranging and public inquiry into state care abuse.
A month later, a member of the public launched an online petition.
So far more than 15,000 people have either signed the open letter or the petition: both will be presented on July 6, 2017.
Hundreds of survivors’ handwritten letters to decision makers along with photographs of themselves as children (where any exist) will be shared online by the Human Rights Commission and presented to Parliament along with the open letter and petition.
What: Petition to Members of Parliament
Where: Parliament Forecourt, Wellington
When: Thursday, July 6, 2017 from 1 pm to 2 pm
Who: Survivors of state abuse and supporters are invited to be there as an open letter and petition are presented to Parliament