Maori groups launch twin protests about & # 39; stolen generation & # 39; of cared for children and a controversial construction project on & # 39; holy & # 39; land in New Zealand
- Maori protesters say the childcare process is racistically skewed
- Hundreds of people gathered in Wellington yesterday to say & # 39; hands off our children & # 39;
- Maori have expressed anger in a separate row about a housing project
The New Zealand government is confronted with anger from the Maori community in a few disputes over a controversial construction project on & # 39; holy & # 39; country and practice to take children from their families.
Many Maori people believe that the process of taking care of children at risk in the state is racially skewed, since most affected young people come from native families.
In a recent case, the Department of Children tried to take a newborn baby away from her mother in the hospital, according to reports.
The claims have sparked indignation and prompted hundreds of protesters to gather outside the New Zealand Parliament in Wellington yesterday with placards that said: & # 39; Hands off our tamariki & # 39 ;, the Maori word for children .
Fury: Hundreds of Maori protesters gather outside New Zealand's parliament in Wellington to express their anger about the number of Maori children who have been taken care of in the state
Protesters call the & # 39; stolen generation & # 39; of the children in New Zealand – a reference to native Australians who have been forcibly taken out of their families as children under an official assimilation policy.
The children's work, Oranga Tamariki, said in a report last week that more than a hundred children had been damaged during state care in the first three months of the year.
Tuesday's protest coincided with a new confrontation with thousands of Maori protesters in Auckland, New Zealand's largest city, about plans to build a housing project on land that they believe is sacred.
The country's largest builder, Fletcher Building, plans to develop 480 homes in the city of Auckland, on the Ihumatao Peninsula, near an airport.
The country borders an important archaeological site and is seen as culturally important.
Nevertheless, the company sent evacuation messages this week to a group that has occupied the country for several years to try and stop development.
An estimated 5,000 people gathered at the site on Saturday, according to Radio New Zealand, setting up more than 50 tents.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern tried to calm the dispute, promising talks and promise that there would be no building until the line was resolved.
However, she was criticized for not having entered before, despite the fact that Maori leaders came forward in her own party to support the movement.
Under pressure: the two protests presented a challenge for PM Jacinda Ardern in New Zealand (pictured in Australia earlier this month)
The protesters, led by a Maori group called Save Our Unique Landscape (SOUL), however, say that the area has a historical, cultural and archaeological significance and should be left behind as an open space or returned to the indigenous population.
The supporters of the project claim that it will offer new homes in the largest city in the country. House prices have almost doubled in the last decade.
The twin conflicts pose a challenge to the Ardern labor-led coalition, which is to hold its Maori voters in the elections next year – but also to offer more affordable housing.
Maori seats are part of Labor & # 39; s support base and played a major role in Ardern's 2017 election win, said Bryce Edwards, a political commentator at Victoria University in Wellington.
& # 39; Such problems are proxies for part of the wider dissatisfaction. The government is now on shaky grounds because there is no evidence that they have made any progress on some issues of inequality, & he said.
& # 39; There are very difficult problems … I'm not sure if the government has any answers right now, & # 39; Edwards said.
Ardern is on an official visit to the dependent South Pacific region of Tokelau, but a spokesperson said her administration & # 39; a chronically under-funded system & # 39; had inherited from the previous center-right national party government.
& # 39; New Zealand has two long-term problems that we are trying to solve, too many children are being removed from their families and end up in state care, and so too many children are being killed or hurt by their families & # 39 ;, said spokesman.
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