ACC’s $18.4m Mates and Dates programme will not help Māori

mates and dates

The Māori sexual and reproductive health promotion organisation Te Whāriki Takapou (TWT) is critical of the decision by Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) to spend $18.4m on the Mates and Dates programme.

Mates and Dates is a programme for secondary school students.

It is aimed at teaching young people healthy relationship skills and behaviour to help prevent sexual and dating violence.

TWT says sexual violence, like so many forms of violence experienced by Māori, will not be reduced by programmes like Mates and Dates.

In a press release, they say the money would be better invested in culturally appropriate teacher-led sexuality education in schools.

TWT says Mates and Dates is unconnected to the realities of Māori and fails to draw on the wealth of historical and contemporary Māori knowledge and practices associated with healthy relationships.

What is required is an evidence-based national plan for culturally appropriate sexuality education.

There are programmes underway in some schools where teachers are already addressing consent and sexual violence as part of comprehensive sexuality education.

However, a lack of specific policy, funding and the political ‘will’ to lead the charge is prevent the programme from being rolled out nationally.

This month the United Nations Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) has published its Concluding Observations on New Zealand’s 8th Periodic Report.

Among the observations were:

  • The high level of gender-based violence in New Zealand, especially domestic and sexual violence
  • The low levels of reporting of violence within Māori communities – only 20% of family violence and 9% of sexual violence is reported
  • The lack of culturally appropriate approaches and distrust in public authorities
  • This lack prevents Māori and other ethnic minority women from seeking protection from domestic and sexual violence


Additional reading

News category: New Zealand.

Tags: , , ,