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Ed Sheeran

Baby stand off reveals wider problem

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The midwife at the centre of a stand-off with Oranga Tamariki at Hawkes Bay Hospital says whānau need to stand by their young mothers to stop the child welfare ministry snatching babies.

Jean Te Huia says midwives were aware the ministry might try to the uplift the newborn baby of a 19-year-old who had her previous child taken from her, so they organised support for her and in March negotiated what they thought was an agreement.

After the pēpi was born this week they again talked with Oranga Tamariki to reiterate the March agreement, but when they left to get some rest three social workers supported by police turned up to seize the child.

Ms Te Huia says midwives all around the country are getting calls from other whānau in a similar predicament.

She says the practice of Oranga Tamariki uplifting pēpi without notification or negotiation with mother and whānau.

"And until we believe that will happen, I believe every whānau member should rally around their young mum at delivery suites, should sit in the corridors and should stand in rooms and hold their pēpi when it is born and not let it go," Ms Te Huia says.

She says mother and pēpi are now in supported accommodation, as has originally been arranged.

Māori health advocacy group Hāpai Te Hauora says on average three Māori mothers have babies uplifted by Oranga Tamariki every week.

 

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