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Whakapono: End child poverty in Maori whanau.

Author Category Source

Child Action Poverty Group, ,

Published Year Read Publication

This report builds on the 2013 Report of the Māori Affairs Committee into the Determinants of Wellbeing for Tamariki Māori, which outlines the critical factors influencing the wellbeing of Māori children, emphasising the inseparable connection between the welfare of tamariki Māori and their whānau, the necessity of acknowledging collective identity and engaging whānau in decision-making processes to foster lasting change, and the intergenerational challenges tamariki Māori face, exacerbated by poverty, which is tied to broader issues of colonisation, land alienation, and economic disparities.

The author identifies the structural and intergenerational nature of Māori poverty, explaining that Māori poverty is considered within the context of the impact of colonisation, the alienation of land and resources, and the consequent loss of a cultural, spiritual and economic base. As the author continues, Māori are still, on average, paid at measurably lower rates than Pākehā, low wages and casualised employment contribute to the disproportionate poverty experienced by Māori families and their children, and severely constrain wealth accumulation. This intergenerational poverty and hardship create and contribute to present and future health, wellbeing and education risks for children. The report critiques New Zealand’s efforts, or lack thereof, in meeting its international human rights obligations, especially concerning child poverty, where a significant portion of affected children are Māori and Pasifika. Through comprehensive sections on family incomes, child health, housing, and education, the report presents a unified call for early investment in children’s lives as a cost-effective strategy that not only mitigates future public expenditures but also enhances the resilience and wellbeing of tamariki and their families. On housing, it notes significant issues including crowding, poor quality, mobility, and insecure tenure. It proposes a strengths-based, Kaupapa Māori approach to empower whānau in designing and executing solutions for their children’s welfare. Recommendations span across research, policy, service provision in practice, health, education, housing, and incomes, advocating for extensive research, development of cross-government policies, long-term funding for service providers, and a myriad of specific measures aimed at addressing the multifaceted needs of tamariki Māori. These include implementing early intervention programs, ensuring access to comprehensive health services, developing community hubs, bolstering the Māori health workforce, and much more. For housing solutions, the report references the Māori Housing Strategy directions published in 2014, while also adding two recommendations: the introduction of fair rent rules and other tenants’ protections, including security of tenure; and the development and funding of a national housing plan to address the increasing housing shortages. Overall, the report serves as a foundational document for shaping policies and practices that aim to significantly improve the wellbeing of tamariki Māori, advocating for systemic and constitutional changes rooted in Kaupapa Māori principles.

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