This article investigates to what extent the forcible transfer of tamariki and rangatahi Māori (Indigenous children and youth) in Aotearoa New Zealand can be considered genocide. First, I begin by exploring contemporary genocide theory as it relates to dolus eventualis in settler colonial contexts, before engaging with precedents for recognizing Indigenous genocides established by truth commissions in Canada (2015; 2019) and Australia (1997). I then explore the history around Indigenous child removal in Aotearoa from the onset of colonization to the present day, attentive to ways in which the UN Convention can apply to the forced removal of Māori children. Third, I explore the potential of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care (2018-2023) to engage with the concept of genocide in its deliberations. Between 60 and 80 percent of those taken were Māori, removed from their families, communities, and nations (respectively whānau, hapū, and iwi). I conclude with some reflections as to why the issue of genocide is not widely discussed in Aotearoa, and has not played an important role in the NZ Commission’s work, in contradistinction to commissions in other settler states.

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Ngā mihi maioha to Claire Charters, Lara Greaves, Fleur Te Aho, Dominic O’Sullivan, Moana Jackson, Tracey MacIntosh, Anaru Erueti, Coral Shaw, Aliʻimuamua Sandra Alofivae, Survivor Keith Wiffin, Donna Matahaere-Atariki, Georgina Tuari Stewart, Makere Stewart Harawira, Sir Anand Satyanand, Andrew Woolford, Tony Barta, Aaron Smale, A. Dirk Moses, Oliver and Ulla Sutherland, Steve Winter, Hilary Stace, Rosslyn Noonan, Judith Aitken, Clare McKendry, and Sheryl Lightfoot. Thank you also to Survivors and Royal Commission staff. This research is funded by SSHRC Grant 430413 and was conducted at the Auckland University School of Law during my time as a visiting scholar. I am a member of the Royal Commission Forum which has an MOU with the Royal Commission on Abuse in Care. This article represents my views only and does not represent the views of the Royal Commission Forum or any of the people I have thanked above. This article is written from the positionality of an Indo-Trinidadian mixed race settler from Treaty 4 lands in Regina, Saskatchewan.




Corrections have been made to the citation of the "Te Ara Takatū. Report from a Wānanga on a Tikanga Māori Based Approach to Redress for Māori Abused in State or Faith-Based Care" The revised citation includes the names of all authors of the report: Louis Coster, Paora Crawford Moyle, Karl Tauri, Dr. Rawiri Waretini-Karena, Hera Clarke, Dr. Carwyn Jones, Prof. Tracey McIntosh, Denise Messiter, David Stone, Annette Sykes, Dr. Rawiri Taonui, Dr. Juan Tauri, and Dr. Rebecca Wirihana.

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