Hewitt backs plan to reduce abuse
Chatting over cups of tea is the key to improving the lives of vulnerable children, Cannons Creek families were told last week.
Former All Black Norm Hewitt spoke to about 40 Cannons Creek parents and community leaders at the Fanau Centre last Wednesday in his role as a ‘‘ champion’’ of the Government’s Green Paper for Vulnerable Children.
Many New Zealand children get a bad start in life – every hour, two children are physically, sexually or emotionally abused.
The Government is asking communities what needs to happen to help children thrive, belong and achieve in New Zealand.
Hui are being held all over the country to encourage submissions on the green paper, which was launched in July.
Discussions didn’t need to be more advanced than a chat over a cup of tea, Mr Hewitt told those at the hui.
Ideas that come out of the brainstorming sessions can be submitted to the Government online or by post.
‘‘Have a cup of tea with your people and say, ‘We want more than just a few [submissions], we’ll have a say’. My goal is that four million people will have a say,’’ Mr Hewitt said.
‘‘We all have the opportunity to make a difference.’’ Most Kiwis were sick of reading news articles about abused children, and this was a chance to change New Zealand’s abuse statistics, Mr Hewitt said.
‘‘If we don’t change this now, there will be more Chris and Cru Kahuis that we’ll have to read about in the paper.’’
It was easy for adults to let egos and blame bog down such discussions, but it was important to put personal issues aside and focus on children’s needs, Mr Hewitt said.
‘‘Our children need us as adults to do better for them.
‘‘New Zealand is a village, and they say it takes a village to raise a child. New Zealand is a village, and it starts here.’’
Fanau Centre manager and Porirua deputy mayor Liz Kelly was pleased with the hui turnout, but said the green paper discussions had only just begun.
She plans to encourage discussions among the many groups who use the centre, and believes taking the green paper to churches will have a huge impact.
Submissions on the Green Paper for Vulnerable Children close on February 28 next year. Submissions can be emailed to your firstname.lastname@example.org or posted to PO Box 1556, Wellington 6012. The full paper can be read at childrensactionplan.govt.nz.
Children at the centre: Former All Black Norm Hewitt urged people to start conversations about the Government’s Green Paper for Vulnerable Children at Cannons Creek’s Fanau Centre last week. Pictured are Fanau Centre manager Liz Kelly, her granddaughter Kennedy Filo, 3, and Mr Hewitt.