27 Feb 2012

Pacific village idea dismissed as 'fantasy'

9:37 am on 27 February 2012

A call to recreate the traditional island village in cities as a solution to Pacific child abuse and neglect has been dismissed as a fantasy.

Some Pacific groups have proposed the idea of urban villages of extended families raising their children, in response to the Government's Green Paper on Vulnerable Children.

Claims by some groups that taking care of the Pacific family automatically ensures healthy, safe children were described as a myth by several speakers at the national conference of the Pacifica Women's Council

The chief executive of west Auckland's Waves anti-violence trust told the conference that the idea of urban villages is a wonderful fantasy.

Poto Williams said Pacific families are often spread widely over Auckland and other places, so mothers don't have relatives nearby to help in times of stress.

She said the focus of government help for vulnerable children should always be on the child, not on the family, as some Pacific groups want.

Public submissions on the Green Paper for Vulnerable Children close on Tuesday.