Press release: UN to examine New Zealand’s approach to child rights


Minister of Social Development Anne Tolley leads a New Zealand delegation to Geneva this week to report on the nation’s children and whether their rights are being upheld.

UNICEF New Zealand Executive Director Vivien Maidaborn is also in Geneva as part of the delegation and said the child rights’ agency welcomed Minister Tolley’s attendance.


“We support the Minister’s leadership and direct involvement in closing the gap between the Convention on the Rights of the Child and New Zealand’s patchy progress to achieve these rights, especially for Māori children.”

“Previous reviews by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) have been extremely critical of successive governments’ progress for children.”


Ms Maidaborn went on to say this was the fifth such review from the UNCRC but only the first time a minister had led the delegation.

Non-government agencies such as UNICEF NZ, Action for Children and Youth Aotearoa are also in Geneva for the review, alongside Judge Andrew Becroft, the Children’s Commissioner.

Ms Maidaborn said that alternative reports, written by community agencies and independent advisors, ensure the UNCRC committee can ask the right questions about government’s activities.

“It’s vital that non-government agencies are in the room to monitor what government tells the UNCRC. The transparency of the process couldn’t be more vital, both for New Zealanders back home and the international community at large.”


Save the Children, UNICEF NZ and ACYA recently supported young New Zealanders to make their views on child rights known. This resulted in a report published this week entitled Our Voices, Our Rights which will also inform questions UNCRC ask the New Zealand government in the exam.

The UNCROC Monitoring Group have felt that in the past only minimal effort has been made by government to consult with children. These consultations were often adult-led, based around specific policy purposes and didn’t include versions that were child friendly.

UNICEF New Zealand Child Rights Advocate Dr Prudence Stone said 1198 children from all around the country participated in the initiative and some of the findings were alarming.

“Thirty-eight per cent of children who participated didn’t know what their rights were. Only four children knew it was actually their right to know, and that government was responsible for ensuring they had this knowledge.”


(To read more of this article, please follow the link below…)

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)… and Aotearoa/ New Zealand


“A 2003 UNICEF report said New Zealand had the third-worst rate of abuse and neglect of children in the OECD group of developed countries and Helen Clark, the prime minister at the time the law was passed, called the country’s child abuse record “a stain on our international reputation”. (Original story here)

What successive New Zealand Governments, including that of Helen Clark, would claim is that New Zealand has a solid track record of respecting the rights of the child …

However, let’s  look at New Zealand today re child rights.

  • New Zealand has the highest rate of domestic violence in the developed world
  • Between the years of 2007 – 2010 data showed that 1 in 6 Pakeha children (white European), 1 in 4 Pacific Island children and 1in 3 Māori children were living in poverty (figures show that children in homes below the poverty line increased from 22 per cent in 2007 to 28 per cent in 2010, and had dropped back only slightly to 27 per cent by 2012). By 2015 child poverty rates were back to 2007 – 2010 highs.
  • A 2003 UNICEF report demonstrated that New Zealand has one of the highest rates of child death from maltreatment (physical abuse and neglect) among rich OECD countries. NZ ranked 25th on a league table of 27 countries with 1.2 deaths per 100,000 children
  • Over one in four NZ adults has experienced childhood trauma or abuse, family violence and/or sexual assault.


  • NZ Police respond to one ‘family violence’ call every seven minutes. Police say that in 60% of domestic violence cases children are also being abused.
  • An international survey found that one in four New Zealand girls is sexually abused before the age of 15, the highest rate of any country examined.
  • Research shows the police only hear about 20% of all family violence incidents and 10% of sexual violence offences.
  • Rates of child abuse in New Zealand have risen by 32% in the last five years, with instances happening to children who are already in the care of the state.
  • New Zealand’s suicide rate for 15-19 year olds is one of the highest in the OECD and double that of neighbouring Australia.
  • New Zealand was called to task by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in June, 2015 for failing to adequately protect children.  The UN report heavily criticised aspects of law and government programmes which failed to address high child mortality rates, unequal access to services for Māori children and a lack of data around child abuse.


  • In 2013-14 there were 117 children in the custody of Child, Youth and Family (CYF) reported to be abused; 88 were in the care of a CYF caregiver, 25 were formally placed with their parents but still officially in CYF custody, and five were abused while living with an unapproved caregiver or in an unapproved placement.  A 2015 report by the Children’s Commissioner slammed the government’s handling of children in State care. Principal Judge Andrew Becroft said the report was a vital piece of work. He said the Youth Court dealt with the most damaged, dysfunctional and disordered young people in New Zealand, and the overwhelming majority of them had a care and protection background. Judge Becroft said it sounded simplistic, but what the report highlighted was the need to do the care and protection work better. “So that we’re not left, for instance, with, as I understand it, 83 percent of prison inmates under 20 have a care and protection record with Child, Youth and Family.”

New Zealand ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in 1993, the 131st country to do so.

1-CH-Large-However, New Zealand has entered a reservation to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which reads: “Nothing in this Convention shall affect the right of the Government of New Zealand to continue to distinguish as it considers appropriate in its law and practice between persons according to the nature of their authority to be in New Zealand including but not limited to their entitlement to benefits and other protections described in the Convention, and the Government of New Zealand reserves the right to interpret and apply the Convention accordingly.”

Reservations to human rights treaties create technical difficulties that do not arise for treaties on other topics because the intended beneficiaries of obligations in human rights treaties are the people in each state, rather than the other state parties to a treaty. It is therefore more problematic to allow states to enter reservations to a human rights treaty, which allows states to modify the extent of their obligations then it would be for an ordinary treaty that has been entered into between states on a reciprocal basis. In short, when a state enters a reservation to a human rights treaty the reservation acts to diminish the rights of the people/citizens of that state.

slide_8Of particular concern are widely formulated reservations, such as that which NZ has entered to the Rights of the Child, which essentially render ineffective all Covenant rights which would require any change in national law to ensure compliance with Covenant obligations. No real international rights or obligations have thus been accepted. And when there is an absence of provisions to ensure the Covenant rights may be sued on in domestic courts, and, further, a failure to allow individual complaints to be brought to the Committee under the first Optional Protocol all the essential elements of the Covenant guarantees have been removed.

In simple terms, while New Zealand is a signatory party to the UNCRC its ratification of the Convention is little more than window dressing because New Zealand has effectively entered a clause/reservation which negates its responsibility to respect the rights of the child according to international human rights norms.

Committee’s recommendation

“In the spirit of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action adopted by the World Conference on Human Rights in June 1993 which urged States to withdraw reservations to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Committee wishes to encourage the State party to take steps to withdraw its reservations to the Convention. Furthermore, the Committee encourages New Zealand to extend the application of the Convention with respect to the territory of Tokelau.”




How would your Kids fare as Soldiers? Red Hand Day, 12th February. By Kirsteen McLay-Knopp

Red Hand Day

I have four children.  The eldest turns eleven this year, the youngest is five.  February 12th is “Red Hand Day”, an internationally recognised day for raising awareness of the plight of “Child soldiers” (anyone under the age of 18 who, for what ever reason, bears arms and fights in a conflict).  On the eve of that day, I think about my own children… each has their own, distinct personality, goals, hopes and aspirations.  They all love to play.  We work hard every day to enable them to attend school, participate in sports and other activities and to try to equip them with skills for their future lives, as so many parents do, all around the world.  As parents in “peaceful” countries, we are busy with day to day life and the tasks involved in raising our kids.  Many prefer not to think about the plights of “other people’s children” in “other countries”, one of the worst of which is that of children made to fight adults’ wars.  Some believe problems such as this are just “too big”, so why even bother thinking about them?

Here at “The Forever Years”, we see the world as a “global family” and believe that this is an important way to think if we are to advocate for the rights of all children everywhere and encourage those who love and care for them.  All people are connected and TV images are not so removed from us as we think.  If we imagine the fate of child soldiers as being that of our own children, we recoil in horror: the low life expectancy, lack of education or play opportunity, the effects of seeing siblings and friends killed, the fact that child soldiers have a high chance of being physically or sexually abused, as well as all the post traumatic shock effects we see in adult soldiers, are soul destroying, to say the least.  You wouldn’t let this happen to your kids– in fact, it’s the very opposite of the protection all our children everywhere deserve.


Some facts about Child soldiers…

  • Child soldiers are any children under the age of 18 who are recruited by a state or non-state armed group and used as fighters, cooks, suicide bombers, human shields, messengers, spies, or for sexual purposes.
  • In the last 15 years, the use of child soldiers has spread to almost every region of the world and every armed conflict. Though an exact number is impossible to define, thousands of child soldiers are illegally serving in armed conflict around the world. 


    Child soldiers of the resistance Mong Tai Army during training with their commander in Myanmar

  • Children who are poor, displaced from their families, have limited access to education, or live in a combat zone are more likely to be forcibly recruited.  
  • Children who are not forced to be soldiers volunteer themselves, because they feel societal pressure and are under the impression that volunteering will provide a form of income, food, or security, and willingly join the group.  


    lsis child soldiers

  • Girls make up an estimated 10 to 30 percent of child soldiers used for fighting and other purposes. They are especially vulnerable when it comes to sexual violence.    56bea3630a58a994ccfa78dec2dfb284
  • A few of the countries who have reported use of child soldiers in recent years are  Afghanistan, Burma/ Myanmar, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Mali, Pakistan, The Philippines,  Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Thailand, Uganda and Yemen.  



  • The recruitment of child soldiers breaks several human rights laws.


For more facts about the reasons for the use of child soldiers in the countries mentioned above, follow the link below…

The “Kony Video” in 2012, although unsuccessful in leading to the capture of Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA),  in Uganda, was still a victory for child advocacy in that it drew attention to the dire state of affairs with regards to child soldiers around the planet and also drove Kony and his followers into hiding, thus ending his recruitment of child soldiers.

To see another article on “The Forever Years” about Child soldiers, including the famous “Kony Video”, follow the link below:

The “Kony Video” is powerful, because  it shows that individuals can focus on a particular area of concern and affect change.  There are a number of online movements and petitions where ordinary people can express their concern at the plight of child soldiers… see the above link above

UNlCEF’s #childrennotsoldiers campaign provided another such way of expressing support (see pictures below).


Model UN team @ Liberty North High Sc. MI says they are #ChildrenNotSoldiers after listening to our chief of office Source:

Model UN team @ Liberty North High Sc. MI says they are #ChildrenNotSoldiers after listening to our chief of office Source:

Secretary-General Photo op for #ChildrenNotSoldiers social media campaign by and armed conflict.

Secretary-General Photo op for #ChildrenNotSoldiers social media campaign by and armed conflict. Source:


United Nations News Centre

The resource below could be useful when discussing the issue of child soldiers with kids.

Other good sites with ideas and resources for helping raise awareness and ending the plight of child soldiers:

Of course “Red Hand Day” provides another opportunity to promote awareness around the globe.  These kids deserve better… they are “our” children too.



Is Education a Human Right? By Professor Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey

Classroom(Originally Published in “The Huffington Post”.  Follow link below).

Editor’s Note:  Of course, here at “The Forever Years”, we believe that ALL children should have the opportunity to an education, particularly considering the enormous, positive difference that this makes! 🙂

Going beyond the rhetoric, should access to education be legally protected and addressed as a human right under international law? Education is increasingly highlighted as fundamental to the advancement of societies as well as essential to opportunity for individuals. Both the opportunity but also the right are too frequently unequal and arbitrarily secured. Girls have too often been shortchanged. Poverty and conflict frequently are obstacles as children barely in their teens are compelled to support hungry families or some are forced to become “child soldiers” or “comfort wives.” Malala Yousafzai, targeted by the Pakistani Taliban for assassination for promoting education for her generation of young men and women, stands out as a symbol for millions who are denied opportunity and access. What more can be done both in practice and definition by the United Nations and International Community?

Photo Credit: UNESCO

Photo Credit: UNESCO

(Read more at the following link…)

“We needn’t wait for conflicts to end for children to be removed from armed organizations.” By Siddharth Chatterjee

C.Soldiers CollageThe Kony 2012 video viewed by nearly 100 million people stunned the world and brought back into focus the egregious use of children as combatants. The blatant terror and savagery taking place in a moral vacuum of sorts, where thousands of children are maimed, raped, killed and abused is a microcosm of a problem afflicting many parts of the world. It even spurred some U.S. Senators to act upon the decades of crimes against humanity committed by the notorious Lord’s Resistance Army in Northern Uganda.

Human Rights Watch confirmed reports of child soldiers being used extensively in recent weeks by the M 23 rebel group in the Congo. Young children continue to be recruited and used as soldiers, scarring them for life. Estimates suggest that as many as 300,000 child soldiers are active in conflicts around the world. 40% of armed forces (including national armies, militias, gangs, terrorist organizations and resistance forces) in the world use children.

Many erroneously believe that child soldiers are mostly boys. In fact, 30% of armed organizations that use children have girls. Girl soldiers aren’t just at risk for long-lasting physical and psychological wounds, they are almost always at risk of often brutal sexual violence as well.

Over 30% of children used as combatants are girls. Photo Credit: ©2006 Peter Mantello.

Over 30% of children used as combatants are girls. Photo Credit: ©2006 Peter Mantello.

The other fallacy is that the issue of child soldiers is isolated to armed militias in parts of Africa. Child soldiers have been used by armed groups in recent and ongoing conflicts in South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and South America. Moreover, some governments also recruit and use children under the age of 18 in their armed forces.

(To read further, follow the link below…)


(See also “the Kony Video”, below… riveting watching about this very important topic and a lesson to us all about how individuals CAN make a difference for our global family.  🙂 )

Editor’s Note (by Kirsteen McLay-Knopp)

Just a follow up note to “the Kony Video”… Joseph Kony is still alive, although there have been reports that he has poor health.  He has evaded capture so far.  However, the world wide campaign in 2012 (in the video), forced him (once he realised that he was “wanted”) to go into hiding… with the result that thousands of children who would otherwise have become his soldiers are, instead, in school and living “normal” young lives.

“Children of The World”/ “A Life Like Mine”: A Song and a Book Review

Featured Image

A Life Like Mine

Published in association with UNICEF (The United Nations Children’s Fund) A Life Like Mine/ How Children Live Around the World unpacks UNCROC (The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child) and presents these with colourful pictures of children from around the world.  Aimed at children and young people, this book is also useful for adults who want to learn or familiarise themselves with the major UN Conventions on the Rights of the Child.

In the forward, Harry Belafonte, Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF in 2002, the year this book was published, says, “There are millions of children, leading different lives, all over the world.  You speak different languages, look different, and face all kinds of challenges every day.  However, although you live thousands of miles apart, in many respects your needs and hopes are alike.   …A Life Like Mine records the courage, energy, joy and optimism of children from all over the world.  Some of the children in this book enjoy every privilege in their lives; others have been deprived of some of their basic rights.”

Kids Round WorldObviously it would be impossible to have a child representing every single country on the planet– I was personally a bit disappointed that Aotearoa/ New Zealand, Japan and Vietnam weren’t included (nor were a number of others).  These countries are, however, mentioned under the different headings in A Life Like Mine.  I like that seventeen children, boys and girls from diverse cultures, are “introduced” to the reader in this book.  My own children really enjoyed “getting to know them” and learning their various names (also such an in integral part of culture and identity) and nationalities.

“The Forever Years” strongly recommends A Life Like Mine.  We love the ethos of inclusion, celebrating diversity and encouraging children (and anyone) to view themselves as part of the “global family”.  We also support UNICEF’s mission “…to create conditions that enable children to live happy, healthy and dignified lives…” and their programmes “to improve children’s health and education… protecting children from violence, exploitation, and disaters… guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child.” [After the forward by the UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, at the very front of A Life Like Mine].

A Life Like Mine is just one in a series.  Other titles include A School Like Mine, (about schools and classrooms around the world)  A Faith Like Mine (looking at the world’s religions through the eyes of the different children who practise them) and Children Just Like Me.

3 Books

“Children of the World,” a song by Amy Grant

Children of the World is a song by “pop-Christian” artist Amy Grant.  It was released in 1994 on her album House of Love. We felt that this song, as well as being in line with the ethos of “The Forever Years”, fitted well with the book A Life Like Mine… so we’ve put some of the images from the book (including the major articles in UNCROC) together with Grant’s song (click below to view). Enjoy, whether you’re watching alone or sharing a view through the eyes of a child.  We’ll put the song lyrics underneath the video clip.


Children of the World: a song by Amy Grant (Lyrics)

Every life, every beating heart
Has a searching soul inside
Ever needing, ever seeking out
The meaning to life

I refuse to believe that we’re only here to live and die
In the futile days of a faithless haze
Never asking why, why would I
When I’ve felt the hand of eternity
It’s a legacy I will leave, I want to leave

For the children of the world
Every single little boy and girl
Heaven plants a special seed
And we must have faith for these

I will stand for the truth I’ve seen
So the truth is seen in me
I will give from the source of love
So all that I believe is handed down
For the road that’s yet to be travelled on
By the ones who will carry on, I’ll carry on

For the children of the world
Every single little boy and girl
Heaven plants a special seed
And we must have faith for these

Related Links:

Read more:
LetsSingIt – Your favorite Music Community

Rosina Wiparata: A Legacy of Māori Language Education

Rosina Collage FY Dates

As told to Kirsteen McLay-Knopp by Rosina’s daughter, Amy Wiparata-Valentine

Amy Wiparata-Valentine still mourns the early death of her mother, Rosina Wiparata, who passed away in 2013 at age 58. Rosina was born on 4th June 1955 in Mungavin Avenue, Canon’s Creek, Porirua (in the North Island of Aotearoa/ New Zealand), the third of seventeen children.  Proud of her Māori heritage (her iwi are Ngapuhi and Ngati Tamatera), Rosina was a strong, generous woman with many talents and a good sense of humour (I can say this from the heart, because I knew Rosina personally).  Amy is Rosina’s second of five children and she remembers how the family moved to Ōtepoti/ Dunedin when she was a child in the 1980s.
“We moved to Turnball Street in Brockville,” Amy says.  “Mum was walking to the shop one day in 1987 when she saw Denise Rakete, a neighbour, at the bus stop with her children.  When she asked them where they were going, Denise replied ‘Kōhanga Reo’.  My mother had never heard of Kōhanga Reo before and asked Denise more about it.”
Maori Lady & baby FY

Until World War II (1939–1945) most New Zealand Māori people spoke Te Reo Māori (the Māori language) as their first language.  By the 1980s however, fewer than 20% of Māori spoke the language well enough to be classed as native speakers. The causes of the decline included the switch from using Māori to compulsary use of English in schools, as well as increasing urbanisation, which disconnected younger generations from their extended families, in particular their grandparents, who traditionally played a large part in family life.  As a result, many Māori children failed to learn their ancestral language, and generations of non-Māori-speaking Māori people emerged.

Recognizing the danger of losing their language, Māori leaders initiated Te Reo Māori recovery-programs.  Kōhanga Reo literally means “language nest”.  These were started up in 1982 for Kindergarten aged children (0-5 years) to be immersed in Te Reo Māori from infancy to the start of school. Then, in the later 1980s, Te Kura Kaupapa Māori, a primary school programme in Te Reo Māori, was set up.

Despite efforts at language revival through the 1970s and the beginning of the Kōhanga Reo movement  in 1982,  it wasn’t until 1987 that Te Reo Māori became an official language of Aotearoa/ New Zealand (alongside English and NZ sign language).

Amy Wiparata FY

Amy Wiparata Valentine remembers how her mother, Rosina, was one of the founders of Whakaari Kohanga Reo in Brockville, Dunedin, NZ.

“Back in 1987 there was only one Kōhanga Reo in Dunedin,” Amy remembers.  “It was Arai Te Uru, near Otago University.  This was great for those who lived and worked in that area, but not so convenient for people in Brockville, particularly those on lower incomes who often had transport issues.  My Mum decided she wanted to be part of initiating a Kōhanga Reo in Brockville.”

Amy says Rosina began by speaking to the priest of the Catholic church on the corner of Wray Street and Brockville Road.  “The brotherhood of monks agreed, so long as the building was still free on Sundays for their services.  Together with my mother, there were seven founding members.  The others were: Hiria Singe (Nani Hiria), Nani Milly, Nani Jackson, Hawea Grant, Pop Hune and Denise Rakete.  My mother and Denise were the two “waka rowers” (hands on teachers).  Wirimu Quidley (who is now a kaumatua [elder], but was not back then) thought up the idea of calling this Kōhanga Reo “Whakaari” (which means “the hill”, thus representing the hill suburb of Brockville) [the English transliteration of the Māori word “Whakaari” is “Wakari”].”

“My brother Thomas was the first child enrolled on 22nd July 1987,” Amy says.  “The Ministry of Māori Affairs later granted  Whakaari Kōhanga Reo $5000 annually for paying staff and resources and eventually Mum and her colleagues were able to rent their own facilities.”

Nearly three decades later,  Whakaari Kōhanga Reo continues to have a strong and constant roll.  Rosina wasn’t just a founding member of Whakaari Kōhanga Reo: her relationship with the Kōhanga continued to be strong for years afterwards (her grandchildren attended with my children when I met Amy and Rosina in 2008).  Amy tells us her mother was “passionate about helping the community, particularly women and children.”  Raising five children as a solo mother, Rosina, aside from being involved with Kōhanga, still managed to work in women’s groups (in particular supporting women and children who were vicitims of domestic violence) , at the Dunedin Community Law Centre  and on Treaty of Waitangi workshops (educating all New Zealanders about things Māori).

Whakatauki Collage

“Mum was also passionate about being Māori,” Amy says.  “She wore her moko [Māori tatoo, on women usually to the lips and chin] with pride.  Mum didn’t care who you were or what your background was– nobody phased her.  To her the most important thing was where a person was going and who they could be. She was proud of her roots and proud to share her knowledge with others.  If she could give a sense of her culture, language and heritage, as well as feeling it was being respected, valued and passed on to the younger generation, she was happy.”

Obituary Rosina

A Memorial to Rosina Wiparata which appeared in the Dunedin newspaper “The Otago Daily Times” on the first anniversary of her death.

Sadly, on 29th September 2013, Rosina suddenly passed away from complications as a result of having suffered from a stroke and aneurysm earlier that year.

“It still hurts that she passed away before her time,” Amy says. “I still miss her: she was my best friend as well as my Mum.  She was one of the most influential people I’ve met and I’m so proud to be able to say that about my own mother.”

Rosina is survived by her five children: John, Amy, Sheila, Thomas and Rawiri and her mokopuna (grandchildren).



Further Reading about Rosina Wiparata’s Community Work (and that of others in Aotearoa/ New Zealand) can be found in the following book:

large_community-development-cover-smallCommunity development : insights for practice in Aotearoa New Zealand







Links Related to this Article (including resources for teaching children Te Reo Māori):

“For Each and Every Child,” By UNICEF NZ (Book Review)

Tamariki Taonga FY

A Book Review by Kirsteen McLay-Knopp

For Each and Every Child/ He Taonga Tonu te Tamariki was published by UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund) New Zealand in August 2011.  It is a beautiful book, both visually and textually.  I love that it sets out the UNCROC (United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child) as though seen through the eyes of a child: indeed, as though a child is presenting these rights to the adult national and global community.  (This totally reflects the ethos of this blog: that the children of the world are “our” children).

“This book gives life to the covenant– this unequivocal international commitment to protect, nurture and further the interests of what is potentially one of the most marginalised and abused groups in our community– our children.  The words and pictures in this book speak to children, adults, and indeed the whole community about how our children should expect to live in Aotearoa New Zealand, protected by a set of rights that they share with every other child in the world.”  Andrew Becroft, Principal Youth Court Judge, Te Kaiwhakakawa Matua o Te Koti Taiohi.

For Each and Every Child/ He Taonga Tonu te Tamariki is bilingual: like its title, each page has the same text in English and Te Reo Maori.  The title of the book is not a direct translation: in Maori it literally means “A Treasure, Each of the Children”.  I like the inclusiveness of the title’s meaning, in both languages.

Pages 10 and 11 (Te Reo Maori left, English right.

Pages 10 and 11 (Te Reo Maori left, English right). Text Reads: Jack, Bella, Poutama, Elijah, Miriama, Ahmed, Nanda, and Sina– everyone has a name from their family. We all enjoy being together in our country, Aotearoa New Zealand.

Aotearoa/ New Zealand is, for the most part, considered to be a good country in which to raise a child.  Issues such as child soldiers, child marriage and child labour do not exist in New Zealand.  There are, however, growing problems with an increasing gap between rich and poor in New Zealand society, resulting in a negative impact on those children whose families live in situations of poverty.  As well as this, Aotearoa/ New Zealand has a disproportionately high rate of child abuse and neglect for our small population.

In 2007 the rate of deaths of children and young persons under the age of 19 years in New Zealand caused by accidents, murder, suicide or violence were extremely high compared with other OECD countries, with New Zealand having the highest rate of such deaths along with the United States.      Source: Wikipedia, see link:


Page 15: Text reads: “Protect us. No one should ever be allowed to hurt us, not even our mums or dads or the people we live with. If something might be painful, like an injection, tell us about it first.”

The cover illustration of  For Each and Every Child/ He Taonga Tonu te Tamariki is also the illustration for page 12 of the book.  It shows a child’s dreams, the potential every child brings into this world.

PP. 12-13 in Te Reo Maori

PP. 12-13 in Te Reo Maori

PP.12-13 in English

PP.12-13 in English

This is a book which looks deceptively simple, but which addresses a multitude of issues relating to Child Advocacy in New Zealand and the world.  It warrants thoughtful reading by adults, as well as reading and discussion with our children.  For Each and Every Child/ He Taonga Tonu te Tamariki would also be useful, informative and thought-provoking in any classroom, from pre-school level right through to high school, or even for discussion in tertiary child-related/ social studies.

Further Reading in this Blog:

The Other Children: Child Poverty in Aotearoa


Also, see these links: