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Ngā Rangatira Mō Āpōpō: Redefining Rights for Tamariki Impacted by Whānau Incarceration

What do rangatahi have to say about the "Children of Incarcerated Parents: A Bill of Rights"?


The rangatahi of Ngā Rangatira Mō Āpōpō - Leaders for Tomorrow are using their lived experiences to make a tangible impact on policy and legislation. They are ensuring that the "Children of Incarcerated Parents: A Bill of Rights" accurately represents their needs and realities in Aotearoa.


Young people of Ngā Rangatira Mō Āpōpō - Leaders for Tomorrow
Team-bonding with the rangatahi and Pillars Ka Pou Whakahou team at Odyssey Sensory Maze

Here’s a glimpse into their incredible mahi.


Revising the Bill of Rights for Aotearoa's Tamariki


The "Children of Incarcerated Parents: A Bill of Rights" was originally drafted in the United States in 2003. While it is an important document, it doesn't reflect the cultural context and lived reality of Tamariki and rangatahi in Aotearoa, New Zealand.


The young people of Ngā Rangatira Mō Āpōpō (Leaders for Tomorrow) gathered to revise the Bill of Rights to reflect their lived experiences. They focused on what they would want other tamariki and rangatahi of incarcerated parents to have and know, delving deeper into what it means to have rights and the significance of these rights in their lives.


Young leaders revising the Bill of Rights
The rangatahi workshopping the Bill of Rights

In Aotearoa, human rights guide the relationship between the government and its citizens, ensuring that everyone’s rights, including children and young people, are protected. It’s crucial for the rangatahi to understand these principles as they advocate for their own rights and the rights of their peers.


Feedback from the Rangatahi of Ngā Rangatira Mō Āpōpō


Their feedback was nothing short of powerful. Here are some of the key rights they emphasized:


Notes of the young people during their revision.

  • The Right to Cultural Identify: Knowing my culture and having policies that are culturally diverse and representative

  • The Right to Whānau: Ensuring strong family connections

  • The Right to a Child-Friendly Environment: Creating spaces where tamariki feel safe and welcomed when visiting incarcerated whānau

  • The Right to Choice: Having a say in decisions that impact me and my whānau

  • The Right to Know: Being informed and aware of my rights and circumstances

  • The Right to a Positive Future: Having access to opportunities that allow me to choose and thrive in my own future


Without foresight or vision the people will be lost

Ki te kahore he whakakitenga ka ngaro te iwi


If people don't know where they are going and what they are working towards, how will they ever get there?


By advocating for the rights of tamariki affected by incarceration, these young Leaders for Tomorrow are creating a clear vision for lawmakers and whānau alike. Their voices are guiding us towards a society where every child's rights are recognized, understood by all and protected.


First and second drafts of the new Bill of Rights
First and second drafts of the new Bill of Rights

The rangatahi aim to create policy and ensure their voices are heard in legislative spaces through their revised “Bill of Rights for Tamariki Impacted by Whānau Incarceration.” Later this year, they will submit their final version of the Bill of Rights for Tamariki Impacted by Whānau Incarceration to Parliament in an open letter, advocating for legislative changes that will protect future generations of tamariki and rangatahi.


 

We invite you to join our newsletter and stay tuned for more updates later this year on this powerful initiative.




Together, we can support these incredible young leaders in their journey to make a lasting impact on our communities across Aotearoa. Their voices matter, and their work will shape a brighter future for all tamariki and their whānau.

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