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Ed Sheeran

Culture change missing from Oranga Tamariki

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The president of the Māori Women’s Welfare League says a case where social workers tried to uplift a baby from Hawkes Bay Hospital shows the transition from Child, Youth and Family to Oranga Tamariki has failed to include any meaningful cultural change.

Prue Kapua says the new legislation includes principles like mana tamaiti, whakapapa, and whanaungatanga, none of which was in evidence.

The ministry’s defence, that the social workers involved were Māori, is a red herring because they are implementing policies and making decisions that should be made by kaupapa Māori organisations working in the community.

"There should have been intensive intervention with this whānau at an early stage and the focus of that intervention should have been 'how do we support this whānau so they keep their baby with them.' Not this nonsense of getting a court order, going in, attempting to uplift the child so you put this young woman through this trauma," Ms Kapua says.

Māori Women’s Welfare League branches and other community and iwi organisations work well with Oranga Tamariki in some centres but there is no consistency around the country, and the ministry as a whole isn’t meeting the expectations placed on it.

 

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