DOCUMENT

2 Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga, New Zealand's Māori Centre of Research Excellence II TE AO MĀORI Quince, in her paper entitled “Nourishing the Seed: New Challenges under Oranga Tamariki”, begins with the whakataukī that frames this paper: E kore au e ngaro, he kākano i ruiamai i Rangiātea. She explains that thiswhakataukī refers to the whakapapa or genealogical connection of all Māori to the original migration source of Rangiatea in Te Moana-Nui- a-Kiwa – the Pacific Ocean. Like most whakatauki, and much of the Māori language, the proverb also has a metaphorical level of meaning, having regard to the seed as a child or person – of inherent promise – of potential for growth, development and expansion – given the optimum conditions of support and nurture. The seed’s potential is activated by the actions indicated by “ruia” – the planting and establishing of a proper foundation. Ruia therefore represents the link between the seed’s potential and its actualisation. Rangiatea represents not only the source or beginning of the literal lineage of its descendants, but also the wider world – thereby marking both the beginning and the end of a cycle of growth and development. As a whole therefore, the whakatauki expresses pride in Māori identity connected to the past and also hope and confidence in Māori futures. This proverb has particular resonance for our understanding of the role of those tasked with making decisions about the welfare of Māori children and young people. Key to that role is understanding that, like tamariki Māori, the kakano comes from somewhere, belongs to someone and its past and future is connected to generations that have passed and those that are yet to come. The very identity, health and potential for success of the seed depends upon recognition and affirmation of those connections (Quince, 2018, p. 1). We strongly endorse these reflections and agree with Ruru (2013) that it is necessary to frame the analysis of the legal system and all family law reform in language that makes sense in Te Ao Māori, specifically whakapapa, whānau and whanaungatanga. This paper heeds this recommendation and begins by firmly placing ourselves in Te Ao Māori. Durie (1998) has noted that whānau serves two broad purposes: it acts as the primary support system for the physical, spiritual and emotional care of Māori, and it provides a sense of belonging and purpose by validating one’s unique identity as Māori. The concept of whānau is inextricably linked to whakapapa and whanaungatanga. In its literal sense, “whakapapa” means “to lay one thing upon another”, a reference to genealogical relationships which have built up over time, while “whanaungatanga” describes the responsibilities that bind kin to one another across their network of relationships, which are effectively derived from the common genealogical thread that is whakapapa (Quince, 2018). Whanaungatanga has been described as a fundamental principle for Māori which embraces whakapapa and focuses on obligations within relationships (Mead, 2016). Relationships, and therefore whānau as a primary expression of relationship through whakapapa, are of the utmost significance to Māori. In explaining the core values of tikanga Māori, Williams (2013) describes whanaungatanga as “the glue that held, and still holds, the system together; the idea that makes the whole system make sense” (p. 4). Whānau connection has been recognised as integral to overall Māori well-being. Durie (1998) asserts that “interdependence rather than independence is the healthier goal” (p. 72). The principle of whānau and familial interconnectedness is reflected across a range of different Kaupapa Māori health frameworks developed by leading Māori health practitioners. Whakapapa and whānau relationships establish collective identity and also carry a relative responsibility to maintain the well-being of the whole (Boulton, Cvitanovic, Potaka- Osborne, & Williams Blyth, 2018). � ’ Māori need to be a part of framing and implementing the current problem that we have with the that opportunity to ensure that the other amendments do not continue to perpetuate over-representation of Māori children in state care.

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