Inquiry into the Determinants of Wellbeing for Māori Children

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Investment in children

Human Rights in New Zealand 2010 found that children are consistently the age group most likely to be affected by poverty and material hardship. Poverty, entrenched inequalities and structural discrimination continue to severely limit the ability of significant numbers of young people to develop and achieve to their full potential, particularly those of Māori and Pacific heritage. Priority areas for action identified in that report include:

  • reducing child poverty, with specific attention to Māori, Pacific and disabled children by developing a coordinated and integrated approach across economic, social and population agencies

  • prioritise resourcing for programmes and services for younger children and their families (from conception to age six).

  • improving coordination, collation and analysis of data to support and inform policy making and budgetary allocations and to monitor their impacts on children and

  • ensuring all children and young people enjoy improved economic, social and cultural outcomes that more fully realise the rights set out in the Treaty of Waitangi and international human rights treaties, including the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

A 2010 report on children’s health and well-being highlighted the continued need for a comprehensive, coordinated and sustained approach to policies and services for children.39 The report, by the Public Health Advisory Committee, identified lack of coordination and of investment in early childhood services as factors in the poor health status of New Zealand children, compared with children in other nations.

It states that “improving child health requires more than merely fixing any one health ‘problem’; it requires a change to organisational systems…Changes must be made to the overall investment in and structure of policies and services for children.” The report advocates the need for strong leadership and a whole-of-government approach, with a cross-party agreement for children, sustained investment, an identified work programme and accountabilities.
Māori children have the right to:

  1. Enjoyment of all their rights on an equal basis as other children (Treaty of Waitangi, article 3; UNCROC, article 2; UNDRIP articles 1, 2, 21)

  2. Live as Māori, including the right to their language, culture and Te Ao Māori (Treaty of Waitangi, article 2; UNCROC, article 30; UNDRIP, articles 5, 9 and 11-15).

The Crown has obligations to protect these rights. International human rights standards indicate that government investment should address inequalities experienced by Māori children, support and empower Māori families and communities to secure their children’s wellbeing, and maintain and strengthen Māori language and culture.
Promising approaches
The Commission’s 2011 discussion paper on structural discrimination identified some common factors amongst programmes that had successfully improved systemic outcomes for Māori, Pacific or ethnic people. Programmes appeared to be most effective where there was:

  • meaningful partnership and consultation with the community for whom they are intended

  • collaboration between and amongst government agencies in the design and implementation of policies and programmes

  • an understanding of what structural discrimination is, an organisational and individual awareness of how it can manifest and a commitment to developing initiatives to address it

  • organisation-wide commitment – initiatives are most effective where this exists at all levels, from leadership to front-line staff

  • willingness to have honest conversations about the underlying causes of structural discrimination and what policies exist that may unintentionally sustain systemic barriers to equality

  • targeted programmes that specifically address the needs of Māori, Pacific and other minority ethnic communities – as opposed to programmes developed for all New Zealanders and/or

  • ongoing evaluation to measure the impact of initiatives. Developing an evidence base is critical to justify ongoing expenditure and to identify areas for improvement and effective practice.

The paper highlights three Māori initiatives in the health, education and justice sectors, namely:

  • Te Hauora Village –a collaboration by health organisations to provide health information and services at the national kapahaka festival, Te Matatini, to families who typically have difficulties accessing these agencies

  • Te Kotahitanga – a professional development programme designed for secondary teachers, to improve Māori achievement by changing teacher pedagogy and school structures, and examining power imbalances and low expectations that impact on Māori achievement

  • Te Kōti Rangatahi – an initiative that locates part of the youth court process in a Māori cultural setting, to address the over-representation of young Māori in the justice system by providing the best possible rehabilitative response

Common factors in the success of these initiatives were that they:

  • are based on Māori frameworks

  • are aimed at meeting the needs of Māori children

  • involve collaboration amongst agencies, with support at leadership and staff level

  • involve effective engagement with Māori families and communities

  • include ongoing evaluation processes.

The Commission notes they are many other examples that would be relevant to the Select Committee. Of particular note are the experiences of kōhanga reo, whare kura and whare wānanga in showing how public investment in Māori medium education has enhanced the wellbeing of Māori children, young people and their whānau.

Effective Treaty Relationships

The Treaty was the means by which a relationship between the Crown and Rangatira was established, and the health of this relationship is a critical factor in giving effect to the rights and responsibilities under the Treaty.

The Commission has collected case studies of Treaty relationships between Crown and Tangata Whenua. These include local government relationships with iwi, relationships established under Treaty settlement agreements and relationships between government agencies and iwi.
Common success factors, shaped by the specific characteristics of the local situation, have been:

  • the Treaty of Waitangi as a foundation

  • a usually formal, agreement about the relationship

  • common purposes and shared decision-making

  • the desire to improve outcomes for Māori and redress past actions

  • a real commitment to improve Crown – Tangata Whenua relationships

  • regular and ongoing dialogue and long-term commitment

  • valuing mātauranga Māori

  • moving forward by dealing effectively with conflict

  • a shift from consultation to meaningful engagement and

  • innovative ways of engaging.

Good practice in Crown-Tangata Whenua relationships can offer models for Treaty-based associations, which promote inclusion, accessibility and achieving better outcomes for Māori.

  1. Social determinants necessary for healthy growth and development of Māori children

According to international human rights standards, the right to health should be interpreted broadly. It includes, but is not limited to:

“a range of socio-economic factors that promote conditions in which people can lead a healthy life, and extends to the underlying determinants of health, such as food and nutrition, housing, access to safe and potable water and adequate sanitation, safe and healthy working conditions, and a healthy environment.”40
The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Commission on Social Determinants of Health has stated that the international human rights framework is the appropriate structure within which to advance health equity through action on social determinants of health.41 This is because health is fundamentally affected by social, economic and political factors, including access to resources and power. Poverty is the greatest barrier to the full enjoyment of the right to health.42
This section of the Commission’s submission focuses on key international and domestic human rights standards in the following areas:

  • Participation - Māori involvement in determining what wellbeing means

  • Empowerment - Māori children have the right to be Māori and

  • Non-discrimination - Māori children have the right to the highest attainable standard of health.

Participation - Māori involvement in determining what wellbeing means
As the Courts and the Waitangi Tribunal have frequently commented, the Treaty conferred a relationship akin to partnership upon the Crown and Tangata Whenua. This relationship imposes rights and responsibilities on both partners who have a duty to act “honourably, reasonably and in good faith” with one another.43
The duty to act in good faith is also found in article 19 of UNDRIP which recognises an obligation on the Government to consult and act in good faith. Furthermore it requires States to obtain the “free prior and informed consent through representative organisations” before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect indigenous peoples.
The UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous People’s report on the Status of the World’s Indigenous Peoples noted that “any measures of indigenous peoples’ social and economic development must necessarily start from indigenous peoples’ own definitions and indicators of poverty and well-being.”44
The Commission considers that a range of indicators will be required for measuring the wellbeing of Māori children. Determining which indicators are most appropriate will require the active participation of Māori.
Guidance from the Whānau Ora Taskforce suggests that measures are needed at the whānau, provider and wider population levels.45 The Commission considers that the latter measures should encompass the full range of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights set out in international human rights standards. This is necessary in order to track the extent to which Māori children’s individual and collective human rights are fully realised.
Furthermore, the Commission recommends that Government should consult and cooperate in good faith with Māori when determining programmes to address the wellbeing of Māori children. At a local level this could take place as a partnership between hapū and iwi and the Crown. It would allow specific responses to local circumstances and ensure that hapū and iwi are able to participate in decision-making that affects them. Thus it would be consistent with both the Treaty of Waitangi and UNDRIP.
In determining what wellbeing means and developing programmes to address wellbeing, consideration must be given to the development of indicators to measure wellbeing.
Empowerment - Māori children have the right to be Māori
UNDRIP upholds the rights of Māori as indigenous people to live as Māori and to determine for themselves what that means.46 The right to be Māori encapsulates both individual and collective rights, therefore Māori children have the right to be ‘me’ and the right to be ‘we’.47 In 2007 the WHO’s Commission on the Social Determinants of Health commissioned an overview of current knowledge about the social determinants of indigenous health. The resulting Working Paper noted that self and group identity are both important social determinants of indigenous health.48
Access to the indigenous world with its values and resources
While access to the Māori world, te ao Māori, is not limited to consideration of Māori language and customs (te reo Māori me ōna tikanga) there are specific standards and guidance in these areas set down in human rights instruments.
Te Puni Kōkiri has acknowledged government’s responsibility to actively protect the rangatiratanga of Māori, and that this extends to all matters which Māori consider to be important to their development, quality of life and culture.49
The right of Māori children to enjoy Māori culture and use te reo Māori is affirmed in article 27 of the ICCPR:

In those states in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied the right, in community with the other members of their enjoy their own culture . . . or to use their own language.

This provision is mirrored in section 20 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act. UNDRIP is even more specific about indigenous languages and culture and provides guidance in the following areas:

  • Māori traditions and customs50

  • te reo Māori51

  • right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of Māori culture52

  • transmission of tikanga Māori and te reo Māori to future generations.53

  • lands and resources54

  • intellectual property55

  • spiritual relationships with lands, waters, coastal seas and resources56 and

  • conservation and protection of the environment and the productive capacity of lands or territories and resources.57

Mason Durie has stated that Māori wellbeing depends on participation and achievement in Māori society, not just on participation and achievement in wider society.58 Furthermore, he notes that the use of te reo Māori is widely regarded as a major indicator of ‘being Māori’.59 The New Zealand government has also recognised the link between te reo Māori and the well-being of Māori. In 2008 the New Zealand representative at the United Nations General Assembly stated that the Government agreed with Māori “that growth in use of the indigenous language contributes to the wellbeing of Maori, both individually and as a community”.60

As a national human rights institution, the Commission recognises the vital importance of language to culture and indigenous people’s economic and social wellbeing. The Commission considers that language and culture are indivisible, as language contains, and allows for the expression of culture. Therefore an important social determinant of wellbeing for Māori children is te reo Māori me ōna tikanga. The Commission recognises that it has a responsibility to promote and protect the right to language. Furthermore governments have a particular responsibility under the Treaty of Waitangi and international law to protect and promote te reo Māori as the indigenous language of New Zealand.
Taking the domestic and international standards into account, the Commission considers that te reo Māori and tikanga Māori are social determinants of the wellbeing of Māori children. The Commission considers that broadly this could be measured by the extent to which Māori children are able to participate in Māori structures, Māori organisations and te ao Māori, including their access te reo Māori me ōna tikanga.61
The Commission also notes the Māori Economic Taskforce’s He Ōranga Hapori Report provides significant guidance for Māori on how indicators can be developed and used to measure their communities’ wellbeing.
Access to the wider society in which they live
The Commission notes that the right of Māori children to be Māori sits alongside their rights of citizenship as affirmed by article 3 of the Treaty of Waitangi. In addition, Māori children have the right of full participation in New Zealand society, without discrimination. UNDRIP provides specific guidance in the context of wellbeing, noting that indigenous individuals have the right to access, without any discrimination, to all social and health services.

The Commission has noted issues of structural discrimination previously in this submission. It considers that structural discrimination must be addressed in order to ensure that the rights of Māori children to access services is fulfilled.

Tamariki hauā
The Commission’s Disability Community Engagement in 2011 identified particular barriers Māori disabled people (whānau hauā) face in exercising their right to their cultural identity. Whānau hauā commented that their cultural and disability needs typically are not being met by either disability support services or Māori providers. As a result, having a disability or being Deaf often contributes to a sense of dislocation from their whānau and Māori culture. In the absence of required support or reasonable accommodation, marae and therefore tikanga, rongoa (Māori medicine), or wairua (Māori spiritual beliefs) are often not accessible.
For example, there are only three qualified trilingual interpreters in New Zealand who are fluent in te reo Māori, English and NZ Sign Language (NZSL). This means that most Māori Deaf adults cannot access their marae events and gatherings, including tangihanga, or learn about their Māori language and culture. The three qualified trilingual interpreters are in very high demand and work in the community with Māori Deaf adults. As a result, the Commission understands that there are no resources provided within the education system to enable Māori deaf children to access Māori medium education via NZSL. This compounds the problems deaf children have in accessing the New Zealand curriculum via NZSL.
As Human Rights in NZ 2010 identified it is important that the needs of whānau hauā are assessed and responded to by inclusion in government strategies for health, mental health, employment and education. For tamariki hauā this would require specific inclusion in the proposed Children’s Action Plan.
Access to a healthy environment
Research indicates it is likely that the determinants of indigenous wellbeing are intimately connected to the determinants of community and ecosystem wellbeing, and are fundamentally linked to indigenous people’s identity. The 2007 Working Paper commissioned by the WHO stressed that this must be understood when considering the social determinants of the wellbeing of indigenous peoples.62 Furthermore, it noted that “to address the root causes of indigenous peoples’ health problems, there must also be full recognition and exercise of indigenous peoples’ collective rights to communal assets and self-determination”.63
The Commission encourages the Select Committee to consider the link between the wellbeing of Māori children and the wellbeing of their communities and environment.
Non-discrimination - Māori children have the right to the highest attainable standard of health
International human rights instruments set out the universal right to the highest attainable standard of health. Yet Māori children have a shorter life expectancy than non-Maori children.
The gap in life expectancy between Māori and non-Māori children was specifically cited by the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in its report on the State of Indigenous Peoples. The report cited research showing that from the 1980s to the end of the century, “a slowing or stalling of indigenous health improvements measured by life expectancy meant that the gap failed to close significantly (Canada) or even widened (New Zealand and the United States)”. The Permanent Forum poignantly emphasises that indigenous children have the right to live long lives.
The basic human right to health and to life is affirmed in UNDRIP, which states that:

Indigenous individuals have an equal right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. States shall take the necessary steps with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of this right.64

Article 34 goes on to state that “indigenous peoples have the right to promote, develop and maintain their institutional structures and their distinctive customs, spirituality, traditions, procedures, practices and, in the cases where they exist, juridical systems or customs, in accordance with international human rights standards”. The Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues’ 2010 report considers that this “implies a greater obligation of states to uphold not only the indigenous individual’s right to health but also the collective right of indigenous peoples to maintain and use their health systems and practices in pursuit of their right to health”.65
Furthermore, article 24 of UNDRIP states that “indigenous peoples have the right to their traditional medicines and to maintain their health practices, including the conservation of their vital medicinal plants, animals and minerals. Indigenous individuals also have the right to access, without any discrimination, to all social and health services”.
The Permanent Forum’s report considers that UNDRIP “establishes a framework for addressing the health situation of indigenous peoples that includes the obligations of states both to provide accessible, quality health care to indigenous peoples and to respect and promote indigenous health systems, each of which must be fulfilled in order to ensure the health of indigenous peoples.”
The Commission asks the Select Committee to note that the wellbeing of Māori children is linked to their collective rights, including their rights to traditional knowledge of health care and illness prevention. The Commission also draws the Select Committee’s attention to an emerging body of literature considered by the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. This indicates a direct link between indigenous peoples’ overall health, well-being and cultural continuity and their ability to consume their traditional foods and continue their traditional food practices.66

  1. Significance of whānau for strengthening Māori children

Maintaining the best interests of the child and the integrity of indigenous families and communities should be primary considerations in development, social services, health and education programmes for indigenous children.

Committee on the Rights of the Child, General Comment 5 67
Children live, learn and grow, not in isolation but as part of families, whānau and communities. Article 5 of UNCROC requires States parties to respect the rights, responsibilities and duties of not only parents, but also of the extended family and community. This requires ensuring effective measures to “safeguard the integrity of indigenous families and communities by assisting them in their child-rearing responsibilities in accordance with articles 3, 5, 18, 25 and 27(3) of the Convention”. 68
The CRC defines a child rights approach in its general comment 13.

This child rights approach is holistic and places emphasis on supporting the strengths and resources of the child him/herself and all social systems of which the child is a part: family, school, community, institutions, religious and cultural systems.”69

Strengthening whānau in order to support individual tamariki is consistent with this approach. For tamariki Māori, self concept, growth and development are integrally linked to whakapapa, tūrangawaewae and tīpuna. This places a responsibility on governments to support families and whānau to care for their children and to facilitate their access to culture and identity.70

There is a growing body of Māori research on appropriate measures of wellbeing for Māori including:

    • Professor Whatarangi Winiata ‘s work He Ōranga Hapori for the Māori Economic Taskforce71

    • Manuka Henare’s He Ara Hou framework72 and

    • Māori health models including Mason Durie’s Te Whare Tapa Whā and Te Pae Mahutonga and Rose Pere’s Te Wheke73

Other examples include Te Kahui Mana Ririki’s work on child wellbeing that promotes traditional Māori parenting practices, the 2010 Whānau Ora Taskforce report and the Families Commission’s whānau research programme.

Typically these frameworks consider the wellbeing of individual children and adults within a broader context of connection to whānau, hapū and iwi. The Commission agrees that whānau are highly significant for strengthening Māori children. It supports a whānau-centred approach that prioritises the best interests of the child.

This Inquiry provides an invaluable opportunity to progress development of Māori determined measures of child wellbeing. These can then be used to inform the development and delivery of strategies to improve outcomes for tamariki Māori.
Children in state care
Given the high proportion of indigenous children in state care, the CRC has highlighted the need for governments, “in cooperation with indigenous families and communities, to collect data on the family situation of indigenous children, including children in foster care and adoption processes.”74 The Commission suggests that this could be achieved as part of the Children’s Action Plan. This information should be used to design policies relating to the family environment and alternative care of tamariki Māori in a culturally sensitive way.
Article 9 of UNCROC sets out a child’s right to not be separated from his or her parents against their will except where competent authorities, subject to a judicial review, determine such a separation is in the best interests of the child. The Commission notes the need to ensure that all whānau, hapū and iwi options have been explored for Māori children before the making of any custody order, including any interim order.

For tamariki hauā this includes determining that all family and alternative care options have been considered before section 141 agreements are made. In its 2008 submission on the Children, Young Persons and their Families Amendment (No 6) Bill, the Commission supported the Bill’s additional requirements that:

  • options for family support and in-family care must have been explored before a disabled child is taken into long term care

  • entering or extending these care arrangements must involve a Family Group Conference (FGC) and

  • the FGC must consider whether the agreement is the appropriate care option, and the availability of other services and support to enable the child or young person to stay with their family.

This Bill has not progressed through the House. The Commission considers that the Green Paper for Vulnerable Children and subsequent White Paper provide an opportunity to assess any outstanding legislative change required to ensure that the rights of children under UNCROC, and for disabled children under CRPD, are better realised in the CYPF Act.75 This would include extending protection measures under the Act to encompass 17-year-olds. The Commission has also recommended that the Charter for Children and Young People in Care76 is specifically referenced in the Act.
Whānau Ora
The Commission welcomes the introduction of Whānau Ora. Whilst Whānau Ora provides no ‘quick-fixes’ it has the potential to support positive change in the medium to long-term, including through its focus on participation and empowerment of Māori.
Furthermore the Commission notes the importance of building the capacity of provider collectives to measure and evaluate Whānau Ora outcomes. The Whānau Ora Taskforce report has suggested that the underlying principles of measurement of Whānau Ora outcomes would usefully include:

  • balancing the need for provider accountability with the need for flexibility and responsiveness in service delivery

  • collecting outcome-focused rather than output-focused information (ie real, demonstrable gains for whānau)

  • collecting continuous, timely data and

  • according value to both qualitative and quantitative information.

The Commission supports the recommendation of the Whānau Ora Taskforce that there is a need for research on the implementation and effectiveness of Whānau Ora and dissemination of its findings through best practice hui.

6: Policy and legislative pathways to address the Inquiry’s findings
Children’s Act and Action Plan
In its submission to the Green Paper for Vulnerable Children, the Commission supported the development of a Children’s Action Plan. However it noted it is crucial that such an Action Plan exists within a broader coordinating framework that specifies required outcomes, measures and milestones to ensure progress on the key issues identified by the Committee on the Rights of the Child - poverty, inequality and underachievement.
The Commission strongly supports specific indicators, measures and targets to address structural discrimination faced by Māori children. These should focus on measures that foster greater understanding of resilience, wellbeing and the full realisation of a Māori child’s right to self-determination.
In addition, the Commission recommends child poverty reduction targets. In this, as in many other areas, real progress will require a deliberate focus on Māori children and young people who are over-represented amongst those growing up in material hardship.
The Commission recommends that accountability for a Children’s Action Plan should rest with Chief Executives of relevant government agencies, who should be required to report annually against these targets. In order to strengthen these obligations, the Commission further recommends that these requirements are set out in binding legislation, such as a Children’s Act.
A Children’s Action Plan should reflect New Zealand’s commitment to UNCROC, focusing on children’s universal, indivisible and inalienable rights alongside special measures required to achieve equality and non-discrimination for children who face disadvantage, including Māori children. Child impact assessments of Cabinet papers and Bills would be a valuable way to ensure all policy and legislation has considered the potential impact on children.
The Commission brings the Select Committee’s attention to the three principles of action that embody the overarching recommendations from the report of the World Health Organisation’s Commission on the Social Determinants of Health,77 namely:

  • improve the conditions of daily life – the circumstances in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age

  • tackle the inequitable distribution of power, money, and resources – the structural drivers of those conditions of daily life – globally, nationally, and locally and

  •  measure the problem, evaluate action, expand the knowledge base, develop a workforce that is trained in the social determinants of health, and raise public awareness about the social determinants of health.

Māori and Iwi Providers
Previous University of Auckland research has looked at those factors that hinder or support Iwi and Māori provider success.78 These are set out below.

  • Collaboration in policy design - including the role of Māori advocacy groups in influencing policy development

  • Resource allocation – given provider stability is compromised by competitive funding processes and short-term funding

  • Capacity and capability building – including ensuring that the Māori capability is not confined to agencies’ Māori units but integrated across their business processes and systems.

  • Evaluation - Building capability for internal evaluation, including through Government departments investing in collaborative evaluation approaches and training, when commissioning evaluations of Māori providers

  • Relationship building – building on the recommendations of the Community and Voluntary Sector Working Party’s 2001 report

  • Accountability - There is a need for more work in defining and measuring what success is, within the Māori model of the world. The focus for many providers is still on outcomes as determined by government agencies, primarily due to the nature of accountability as determined by these agencies

The researchers concluded by highlighting the cumulative impact these factors can have for Māori and iwi service providers:

If providers are pushed to accept contracts that are under-priced, exceed their expertise and/or capability, and/or underestimate the need among their community then the ability of a provider to fulfil contract obligation is likely to be compromised.79
In summary, the Commission recommends that the Select Committee affirms the rights of Māori children as expressed in UNCROC, UNDRIP and CRPD including the:

  • need to address unacceptable levels of systemic inequality that undermine the wellbeing of Māori children

  • right to be Māori as both an individual and collective right

  • link between Māori children’s wellbeing and their participation and achievement in both Māori and non-Māori society

  • intimate link between the wellbeing of Māori children and the wellbeing of their whānau, communities and the ecosystems in which they live

  • importance of Māori definitions and indicators of wellbeing, including the views of Māori children and

  • the responsibility on government to engage in good faith with Māori to identify culturally appropriate responses for improving the wellbeing of Māori children.

Furthermore, given priorities identified in international and domestic human rights standards and by treaty bodies, the Commission recommends:

  • ensuring that legislation reflects New Zealand’s obligations under UNCROC, CRPD and UNDRIP including through necessary changes to the Children, Young Persons and their Families Act

  • developing a Children’s Act that legislates for a Children’s Action Plan and requires Chief Executives of relevant government agencies to report annually against the Action Plan’s targets

  • ensuring the Children’s Action Plan has specific targets for improving outcomes for Māori children including tamariki hauā and includes disaggregated child poverty targets

  • identifying and addressing data needs required to monitor progress for Māori children, including tamariki hauā , against targets set out in the Children’s Action Plan

  • assessing and responding to the needs of tamariki hauā through their explicit inclusion in government strategies, including addressing the acute shortage in trilingual (te reo Māori, English, NZ Sign Language) interpreters

  • resourcing the effective evaluation of Whānau Ora initiatives including the development of kaupapa Māori measures of wellbeing and success

  • independent evaluation to ensure that welfare reforms do not adversely affect the wellbeing of Māori children and their whānau and

  • overcoming the shortage of teachers fluent in te reo Māori, to enable Māori children to access quality early childhood and compulsory education, including through Māori medium education

Appendix 1: UNCROC Concluding Observations 2011
The following comments and recommendations include a specific reference to Māori children:

Article 2


The Committee remains concerned at continuing manifestations of discrimination against the Maori population, including children, as evidenced by their unequal access to services (para 24)
The Committee recommends taking urgent measures to address disparities in access to services of Maori children and their families (para 25 (a))

Article 18

Family responsibilities

The Committee recommends that the State party intensify its efforts to render appropriate assistance to parents and legal guardians in the performance of their child-rearing responsibilities . . . including in the case of Maori and Pacific Islander populations, culturally appropriate services to enable them to fulfill their parental role (para 31).

Article 24


The Committee recommends that the State party continue its efforts to increase the number of infants up to six months of age that are exclusively breastfed, with a particular focus on raising the awareness of the Maori population about the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding. (para 39)

Article 24

Adolescent health

However, the Committee is concerned at the increasing rate of teenage pregnancies, especially among girls from a lower socio-economic or Maori background and at the high suicide rates of teenagers, particularly Maori teenagers. (para 40)

Article 30

Minority or indigenous children

The Committee encourages the State party, in its efforts to improve the situation of children belonging to indigenous groups, to take into account the observations and recommendations made by the UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous People following his visit to New Zealand in July 2010, including with regard to the principles enshrined in the Treaty of Waitangi. The Committee also draws the attention of the State party to its General Comment No. 11 on indigenous children and their rights under the Convention (2009).(para 57)

1 Committee on the Rights of the Child (2011) General Comment 13: The right of the child to freedom from all forms of violence, para. 65, accessible online at:

2 Article 19 of UNCROC and Committee on the Rights of the Child (2009) General Comment 11: Indigenous children and their rights under the Convention, accessible online at:

3 Committee on the Rights of the Child (2004) General Comment No. 5: General measures on implementation of the Convention, para. 8, accessible online at:

4 UNDRIP Article 1

5 The Commission’s submission on the Green Paper for Vulnerable Children can be downloaded at:


7 Committee on the Rights of the Child (2009), para 5

8 Ibid., para 35

9 Ibid.

10 Ibid., para 34

11 Ibid., para 82

12 International human rights bodies – such as the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (Concluding Obs (2008) USA, CERD/USA/CO/6) – have affirmed that the Declaration should be used when interpreting states’ human rights obligations.

13 Article 43 UNDRIP.

14 Durie, M. (2003) The Treaty of Waitangi, equality of citizenship and indigeneity, p 9, paper accessible online at:

15 Article 1(1) of both the ICCPR and the ICESCR

16 E Daes 'Striving for self-determination for Indigenous peoples' –.cited in: Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Australian Human Rights Commission, (2008), Social Justice Report 2008, available at:

17 28 June 2011 Letter of transmittal to the Prime Minister and Minister of Māori Affairs, pp xxiv-xxv, accessible online at:

18 For example the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights - CESCR E/C.12/1/Add.88 (2003), para.20 – and concluding observations by the Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2003 and 2011

19 Individual chapters can be downloaded from the Commission’s website at:

20 Human Rights Commission (2012) Tūi Tūi Tuituiā – Race Relations in 2011, accessible online at:

21 Human Rights Commission (2011) A Fair Go for All? Structural discrimination and systemic barriers to ethnic equality accessible online at:

22 Human Rights Commission (2012) p 14

23 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (2009). Data analysed in the OECD report did not reflect the full impact of the Working For Families package.

24 Dolan, S. (2006) ‘Chile Grows with You’ promotes early childhood development, accessible online at:

25 United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (2003) Concluding Observations: New Zealand, paras 14-15 and CROC (2011) Concluding Observations: New Zealand, paras 16-17.

26 CROC (2011) para 17

27 Ibid., para 16

28 Human Rights Commission (2012) p 6

29 Committee on the Rights of the Child (2004) General Comment No. 5: General measures on implementation of the Convention, para. 8.

30 Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (2010) Healthy Child, Healthy Future: A Framework for the Universal Child Health Promotion Programme in Northern Ireland. Belfast: Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety.

31 ILO (2010) ILO World Social Security Report 2010/11. Geneva: ILO

32 Marmot Review (2010) Fair Society, Healthy Lives: Strategic Review of Health Inequalities in England Post 2010. London: Marmot Review. Accessible online at:

33 Committee on the Rights of the Child (2009) General Comment No. 11: Indigenous children and their rights under the Convention, CRC/C/GC/11, para 5

34 Human Rights Commission (2010) Guidelines on Measures to Ensure Equality, accessible online at:

35 Committee on the Rights of the Child (2009), para 49

36 Ibid., para 60

37 Ibid., paras 74-75

38 Committee on the Rights of the Child (2011)

39 Public Health Advisory Committee, (2010) The Best Start in Life: Achieving effective action on child health and wellbeing, accessible online at:

40 ICESCR General Comment 14, para 4

41 Commission on Social Determinants of Health (2007) Draft Discussion Paper: A conceptual framework for action on the social determinants of health, accessible online at:

42 Wilson (2009) “Social determinants of health from a rights-based approach,” in A. Clapham and M. Robinson (eds), Realizing the right to health, p 61. Zurich: Rüffer and Rub.

43 See for example, the Lands case and Te Runanga o Wharekauri Rekohu v Attorney- General cited in Te Puni Kōkiri (2001) He Tirohanga o Kawa ki te Tiriti o Waitangi: A Guide to the Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi as expressed by the Courts and the Waitangi Tribunal, pp 78-9.

44 Carino, J. (2009) “Chapter 1: Poverty and Wellbeing” in Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, p 15. New York: United Nations. Accessible online at:

45 Whānau Ora Taskforce (2010) Whānau Ora: Report of the Taskforce Whānau-Centred Initiatives

46 UNDRIP articles 3, 9, 11-16, 18-20, 23-25 etc; Treaty article 2 - rangatiratanga).

47 Article 1, UNDRIP

48 London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (2007) An Overview of the Current Knowledge of the Social Determinants of Indigenous Health. Working Paper commissioned by the WHO’s Commission on the Social Determinants of Health.

49 Te Puni Kōkiri (2009) Statement of Intent 2009-2012

50 Article 11 and 34 UNDRIP

51 Article 13 UNDRIP

52 Article 8 UNDRIP.

53 Ibid

54 Article 26 UNDRIP

55 Article 31 UNDRIP

56 Article 25 UNDRIP

57 Article 29

58 Durie (2006) Measuring Māori Wellbeing, NZ Treasury Guest Lecture Series, p9.

59 Ibid.

60 Statement by Ms Nicola Hill, Representative of New Zealand, 20 October 2008 at UNGA Third Committee, Item 64 Indigenous Issues. Accessible online at:

61 Human Rights Commission (2010) Human Rights in New Zealand 2010

62 London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (2007), p 3.

63 See also chapter 7 of Waitangi Tribunal (2011) Ko Aotearoa Tēnei

64 Article 24(2) UNDRIP

65 Cunningham, M. (2010) “Chapter 5: Health”: in Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (2009) State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. New York: United Nations.

66 See for example

67 CRC (2009) Op. Cit., para 47

68 Ibid., para 46

69 Committee on the Rights of the Child, General Comment 13 (2011), para 59.

70 Articles 14, 17(2) and (3), 21(2) and 22 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples, and articles 5, 27 and 30 of UNCROC.

71 Accessible online at:

72 Henare, M., Puckey, A. and Nicolson, A. (2011) He Ara Hou: the Pathway Forward. Getting it right for Aotearoa New Zealand’s Māori and Pasifika Children, accessible online at:

73 Accessible online at:

74 Committee on the Rights of the Child (2009) General Comment 11, para 47

75 This is consistent with previous submissions from the Commission recommending that the Education Act 1989 be amended to clarify that the right to education for disabled children means the right to inclusive education in their local school, and to set out minimum standards in relation to this right.

76 Child, Youth and Family (2007) Charter for Children and Young People in Care, accessible online at:

77 Commission on the Social Determinants of Health (2008) Closing the gap in a generation: Health equity through action on the social determinants of health. Geneva: World Health Organisation. Accessible online at:

78 University of Auckland, International Research Institute for Māori and Indigenous Peoples (2002) Iwi and Māori Provider Success

79 Ibid.; page 98

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