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Ed Sheeran

Hui endorses Oranga Tamariki inquiry

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The North Island Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency has won ringing endorsement from Māori leaders for its inquiry into the Ministry for Children.

A national hui in Auckland on Saturday heard from leaders including Dame Tariana Turia, Iritana Tawhiwhirangi and Rangimārie Naida Glavish, Professor Sir Mason Durie and John Tamihere about why it was time for Māori to take responsibility for protecting Māori children.

Māori Midwives Aotearoa chief executive Jean Te Huia, who was part of the effort to stop the uplift of a one-week old baby from Hawke's Bay Hospital, told the hui Oranga Tamariki prioritises the removal of children from the whānau unit without sufficient investigation and fails to form meaningful partnerships with whānau, hapū or iwi.

Mr Tamihere, the chief executive of both the commissioning agency and West Auckland's Waipareira Trust, says Māori and iwi organisations represented at the hui could do a better job than Oranga Tamariki if they had the resources.

"There’s $1.5 billion that has just been voted new money to this agency. It’s failed 14 reviews in 20 years. You can’t just change the name of an agency and think you’re going to change the culture of it. On half that money there are Māori here that would drop Māori offending by 20 percent in five years and halve it in 10. The state can’t say that nor will it meet it but we can, " he says.

The Kīngitanga will host a second hui where more of the detail of the inquiry will be decided.

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