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Annabel Ahuriri-Driscoll

Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Kahungunu

Associate Professor Annabel Ahuriri-Driscoll (MPH, PhD) is an associate professor at the University of Canterbury, teaching and researching in Māori public health. Annabel has worked on a range of kaupapa in her research career, focused on Māori advancement. Since completing her PhD on Māori adoptees’ experiences of ‘being-Māori-and-adopted’ in 2020, Annabel has utilised her work to advocate for adoption law reform. Together with Marsden-funded work on adoption and whāngai, collaborative research on donor conception and identity, and her membership on the Ethics Committee for Assisted Reproductive Technology (ECART), Annabel’s interests are currently centred in the broader area of (indigenous) reproductive justice.

Reconciliation and the complexity of saying sorry

Sorry seems to be the hardest word – apology in the context of closed adoption and abuse in care

Who speaks and who does not, who is spoken of and who is not, who is heard, and who is not, is shaped by power dynamics embedded in colonial relations. The voices and experiences of indigenous children removed from their whānau, hapū and iwi have, until recently, received scant attention.
As with other settler colonial nations, Aotearoa New Zealand has a troubling history of indigenous child removal. The silence of the Crown for many decades on this matter might be described as ‘wilful forgetting’, a denial in order to not be confronted with or remember “uncomfortable histories”.
Since 2018, the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care has heard the testimony of survivors relating to the profound losses and harms they have incurred. The Commission has made several recommendations for redress and healing for survivors, including the importance of meaningful personal and public apology. In this presentation, Annabel will discuss the politics of sorry work, drawing on her lived experiences as an adoptee survivor, activist and researcher, and her role co-chairing the high-level design of a survivor-led redress system.

Annabel Ahuriri-Driscoll
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