Hikoi sparks events against child abuse

Eleven people of varying backgrounds came forward following a hikoi in Kaitaia against child abuse on Wednesday to organise ongoing events and initiatives in the Far North town.

Hikoi organiser Anahera Herbert-Graves, chief executive of Te Runanga-a-iwi o Ngati Kahu, said the new group hoped to meet next week to strategise and plan its next steps.

Future initiatives could include workshops and making the hikoi an annual event.

Future hikoi, however, would focus more on celebrating children than on speaking out against child abuse.

Wednesday's march was timed to coincide with a court appearance by former Pamapuria School deputy principal James Parker, who faces more than 70 charges of sexually abusing boys between 1999 and 2012.

It had already spawned a national movement with similar events taking place as far afield as Whangarei, Auckland and Hastings.

She said child abuse was still happening and she hoped the shock and hurt felt by the people of Kaitaia after Parker's charges were revealed could be harnessed to effect changes.

At a national level Ms Herbert-Graves said she wanted to see the Government legislate for mandatory reporting of child abuse.


- Northern Advocate

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