27 January 2021  Media Releases

Advisory board welcomed as step toward a by Māori for Māori approach for care and protection

The appointment of an advisory board for Oranga Tamariki is welcome and should be a step toward a total transformation of the care and protection system to a by Māori, for Māori approach, Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft said today.

Minister for Children Kelvin Davis today announced a four person advisory board to provide advice and assurance as the government commits to fixing the child care and protection system.

“The child rescue model that Oranga Tamariki has inherited doesn’t work and has led to too many pēpi and tamariki being separated from their whanau, their identity and their culture,” Commissioner Becroft says.

“Our review of care and protection, Te Kuku o te Manawa, shows that mokopuna Māori, like all children, have the right to be both safe and with their wider whānau. It is not one or the other. Efforts to fix the system need to understand that.”

Assistant Māori Commissioner Glenis Philip-Barbara said the changes required at Oranga Tamariki go well beyond a change in leadership.

“Māori have been calling for a total transformation of care and protection for decades,” Ms Philip-Barbara says.

“The experiences of whānau Māori have been well-documented, including in the two reports of Te Kuku o te Manawa.

“Our hope is that the advisory board draws on that evidence and acknowledges that it is time to stop tinkering and finally get it right for whānau and mokopuna Māori,” Ms Philip-Barbara says.