The Kid's Aren't Alright

Maori children struggle to find a place in the world

The Kid's Aren't Alright New Zealand's Maori youth are far more likely to attempt suicide and commit crimes than any other group. In some communities, a return to traditional Maori values is being promoted as the solution.
New Zealand's Maori youth are in the grip of a crisis. Maori make up just 15% of the country's population, but 60% of people aged 10-14 who killed themselves between 2012 and 2016 were Maori. Eastern Petford Smith first attempted suicide aged 12, and at the same time began to get in trouble with the law. “I didn’t want to be in this world. I hated it.” Isaiah Matthew Apiata works as a youth justice coordinator for New Zealand’s Ministry of Children, or Oranga Tamariki, and believes that Maori children today "aren’t brought up with values or principles." Apiata's work focuses on helping children like Isaiah reestablish their connection to ancestral traditions. “The essence of the pepeha hikoi is for the young person to make a reconnection back to their land...And give you that understanding of purpose in life."

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