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 Snuneymuxw territory on 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 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

Coins converted to Christmas toys

Coins for Kids raising cash for Great Nanaimo Toy Drive, Boys and Girls Clubs

Nanaimo mayor wants B.C. to institutionalize severely mental ill people who are homeless

Those suffering from mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, need specialized care, mayor says

Lantzville, Snaw-Naw-As asking for lower speed limit on Island Highway

Safety concerns cited by municipal council and band council

UPDATED: Transportation Safety Board finishes work at plane crash site, investigation continues

Transport Canada provides information bulletin, family of victim releases statement

Workers at auto dealerships in Nanaimo and Victoria set up picket lines

Sixty GAIN Group detailers, technicians, service advisors went on strike Friday

VIDEO: These are the top toys this Christmas, B.C. toy experts say

Consider the play value of a game, staff at Toy Traders say

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Five things of note from Trudeau’s mandate letters to his ministers

Some marching orders come from the Liberal Party’s campaign, while others are new additions

Scheer’s resignation tips party into internal war over school tuition payments

The Conservatives have a Toronto convention already scheduled for April

Beefs & Bouquets, Dec. 12

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail bulletinboard@nanaimobulletin.com

Wagon wheels can now be any size! B.C. community scraps 52 obsolete bylaws

They include an old bylaw regulating public morals

Students coming up with signature VIU chocolate

Blind taste testing this week part of chocolate recipe competition

UPDATE: VIU student dies, another injured in car crash on Nanaimo Lakes Road

Students part of Vancouver Island University’s automotive program

Most Read