Tracey Martin, New Zealand’s Minister of Children, was in Snuneymuxw First Nation territory in Cedar Wednesday. Martin is in Canada and made a stop in the Nanaimo area to learn about child services. (KARL YU/News Bulletin)

New Zealand cabinet minister comes to Nanaimo on Indigenous fact-finding visit

Tracey Martin, Minister of Children, learns about child services offered by Kw’umut Lelum

A New Zealand cabinet minister made a stop in Nanaimo this week on a fact-finding mission about child services.

Tracey Martin, New Zealand MP and Minister of Children, and her contingent stopped by Snuneymuxw First Nation territory Wednesday to learn about child services offered through Kw’umut Lelum Child and Family Services, which services nine area First Nations, and if they can be applied to prevent Maori children in her country from coming into care. She and her government seek to “devolve responsibility from government to Maori with regard to child protection and child care.”

“It was because they had some of these services [that] were more advanced than others,” said Martin about why she came to Snuneymuxw territory. “Canada, generally because there’s been a legislative change that is a little bit similar to a legislative change of ours, meant that there was more empowerment of First Nations and starting to build their capacity.”

READ ALSO: Nanaimo contingent learns about Maori during cultural exchange

Bill Yoachim, Kw’umut Lelum executive director, said the Canadian government reached out to Snuneymuxw a few weeks ago, asking if they could host Martin and her contingent and there are lessons that can be learned from both sides.

“Systems are failing [children] whether they come from our systems or their systems. We’re starting a program called Step Up preparing kids when they age out of care and preparing them for their life-long journey … it’s proven statistically that both systems are failing and [Martin] has taken initiative down there, and her government, to push a program called Transition and what a great idea,” said Yoachim. “The feds are interested in that here, we’re doing a pilot on that called Step Up and we look forward to seeing where that goes.”

While both Canada and New Zealand are charting reconciliation paths, Martin said her country is “almost at the end of its treaty settlements.”

“Which means that the majority … have said, yes, we will reconcile for the losses of land, through the provision of this from the state or that from the state, a certain amount of finances and a certain amount of land,” said Martin. “I think the Maori economy is worth $11 billion now and it’s growing, so it’s giving Maori back the capacity to make their own decisions and stand on their own feet.

“From my perspective around child protection, that means that they are more than capable of looking up and looking after and making decisions for their own children, so this is the moment in our history’s time to now begin this process of devolving from the state.”



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Karl on Twitter and Instagram

Just Posted

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

The secret life of tadpoles

Vancouver Island photographer Maxwel Hohn’s documentary traces the ‘big little migration’ of western toad tadpoles

Nanaimo country singer releases new music video

‘Adrenaline’ is the second single from Joel Lee’s upcoming debut EP

From Nanoose Bay to the bookshelf, Howard the Gnome now a children’s book

Vancouver Island author explores Howard’s move down-Island

Exploring the mystery of a scooter-free YYJ

Victoria should be a ‘no brainer’ for e-scooter program, say company executives

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Water supplies declared safe in wake of major tire fire near Ladysmith

Concerns about water quality arose after Sept. 10 scrap yard fire at Schnitzer near Nanaimo Airport

Hundreds march against location of Duncan safe injection site

A Voice for Our Children opposes centre being near schools, recreation sites

Suspect robs store, stabs clerk in Courtenay

Comox Valley RCMP are looking for suspect in Ryan Road incident

Metchosin inmate sentenced to 12 months in jail for escaping custody

Sentence to be served concurrent to a life sentence he was already serving

Accused in Makayla Chang’s murder sees next court date in October

Steven Michael Bacon faces first-degree murder charge in killing of Nanaimo teen

Conservation officers free fawn stuck in fence in Nanaimo

Fawn was uninjured after getting caught in fence in Hammond Bay area Wednesday

Nanaimo senior defrauded out of $14,000 in ‘grandson scam’

80-year-old victim was told her grandson was out-of-province and in legal trouble

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Most Read