June 09, 2022
Lifetime of anti-racism mahi for Sutherland
A veteran campaigner against institutional racism says Police sill have work to do to weed out racism in the ranks.
Dr Oliver Sutherland was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the Queens Birthday and Platinum Jubilee Honours for services to the law and Māori and Pacific communities.
As part of the Nelson Māori Committee he started a legal aid for children 50 years ago, leading to the duty solicitor system, and he was also a founder member of the Auckland Committee on Racism and Discrimination.
He says while Police is a lot better than it was in the 1970s, with more Māori officers and in higher ranks, there still seems to be racial profiling of Māori and Pacific youth.
“That really gets to the core of the racism which has always pervaded that system and even the judicial system. There’s been changes but there’s a lot of work to do and I think the Police need to do a fair bit of internal soul searching,” Dr Sutherland says.
He’s still working with male survivors of abuse on submissions to the Royal Commission into Abuse in State Care.