“We must aspire to a higher quality of care for all of our children … we must do all we can to ensure that these sad circumstances can never be repeated. As the lessons emerge, they need to be applied to the changes that are already underway in our statutory care and protection system.”
At any one time there are up to 5,000 New Zealand children in state care, the prime minister said.
Martin said the commission would investigate the impacts of abuse , particularly for Māori, who were taken from their families at far higher rates than Pakeha children (those of European descent), sometimes for transgressions such as truancy.
Last year, 61% of children in state care were Māori.
More than 100,000 New Zealanders children and adults were held in state institutions between the 1950 -1990s, and many suffered serious sexual, physical and psychological abuse.