The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (the Children’s Convention), which New Zealand signed up to in 1993, sets out the inherent rights of all children. Child wellbeing can only exist when children have all of their rights fulfilled – these include the rights to survival and development; to be free from discrimination; to have their best interests considered; and to participate and have their voices heard and considered.
In Aotearoa, our commitments to international law and human rights are applied in the context of Te Tiriti o Waitangi as our founding document. In order to understand the rights of tamariki Māori, Te Tiriti o Waitangi, Māori culture, values, and te ao Māori must be a central consideration.
New Zealand’s history, including the adoption of British laws and views of childhood, and our Tiriti o Waitangi and te ao Māori (Māori worldview), and the impact of colonisation, provides a unique setting in which international children’s rights are being adopted and implemented in domestic laws and practices.
A first step in our national journey towards child wellbeing is ensuring every child has their rights fulfilled.