'Māori need to step up' against child abuse - Māori council executive director

News 17/05/2019

Māori need to step up and get involved in solving New Zealand's horrific child abuse statistics, the head of the Māori council says.

Matthew Tukaki was on The AM Show to discuss the council's new campaign focussing on the safety and care of children.

He wants to see change in the system, whanau and the community to ensure fewer children face abuse.

One of the major things he wants to see though is people who physically attack their children confronted about their behaviour.

"We've got to call out the behaviour, we've got to put an end to somebody somehow thinking it's okay to hit a kid, to slap a kid, to kick a kid, to throw a kid against a wall."

Labour Party MP Peeni Henare agrees and told The AM Show iwi need to be challenged over abuse.

"I do think there is a significant challenge that needs to be put to iwi... They've got the resources, they've got whakapapa, they've got connections, they know who these people are."

He said he hasn't seen the messaging out in the community yet.

"I haven't seen one message on a marae, a sign that says 'it's not okay to smack your kids'... We sort of take it as a given, as a tikanga, but that hasn't been the case. The numbers prove it."

Tukaki said men need to check in on their mates and support them.

"One of the things that we need to look at is what can we do, as men, to break the violence? It's looking in the mirror but it's also men calling out other men.

"Men as mates, men as friends, as support networks, trying to do more in our own community than just walking away from it."

The AM Show / Newshub reporter Katie Fitzgerald