Tonight on SBS Dateline reports on “The Kids Are Not Alright” in which NZ Maori boys are in the grip of a crisis.
The youth suicide rate is 84 per cent higher for Maori than non-Maori, in a country that has the highest teen suicide rate in the developed world. Maori also make up 15% of New Zealand’s population, but over half its prisoners.
Many Maori boys are slipping through the cracks, struggling with anger and despair.
But some organisations are going to great lengths to pull them back from the brink – from intensive wilderness excursions to flying with a Hercules pilot.
This Tuesday, Dateline reporter Amos Roberts goes off the grid with teenage Maori boys barely holding on and meets some of the people trying to throw them a lifeline before it’s too late.
Isaiah Apiata works as a youth justice coordinator for New Zealand’s Ministry of Children and has dedicated his life to saving Maori boys from a life of despair. He takes the boys into the wilderness where he shows them the power of their culture and history.
“A lot of our whanau, family, have a lack of knowing or have a lack of identity,” he tells Dateline.
“It’s part of my goal to work with those people, to instil “tikanga” – values and principles that have been written by our ancestors.”
Dateline looks at whether strong role models and cultural intervention are enough to pull these boys out of a life of anger, violence and poverty – and asks what can Australia learn?
Tuesday 25 September at 9.30pm on SBS.