LIVE-STREAM SAT 13th JULY Māori Inquiry into Oranga Tamariki Hui
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What is the Māori Inquiry Hui about, and what is its purpose?
Following a call from Māori leaders, Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency set in motion an independent Māori Inquiry into the Government’s child protection agency Oranga Tamariki (OT). The Inquiry is set to focus on the way OT operates and its role in removing tamariki from whānau.
The actions of OT in perpetuating inter-generational harm of Māori whānau is in direct contravention of its stated aim of ensuring children are where they can be safe, connected and flourishing.
Many in Māoridom have been alarmed by the practices of OT, which enable the taking of babies and children from their whānau without proper regard for the consequences.
What are some key issues?
- Current OT practices are prioritising the removal of tamariki from whānau without enough investigation, or partnership with whānau, hapū or iwi.
- Authorised on the mono-cultural belief that the wellbeing of both are separate from each other – in Te Ao Māori they are entirely dependent on each other.
- Insufficient early engagement and wrapping of support around whānau - to help them care for and protect their tamariki.
- Culturally appropriate support is evidenced and can lead to life-changing results. The Government’s own 2018 Whānau Ora review findings show this Māori-made policy works and that whānau are being successfully supported to realise positive and sustainable transformation in their lives.
- Removal of Tamariki is an invasive and traumatic event for all members of the whānau and can lead to or worsen issues, such as problems with mental health and loss of connection and identity.
Troubling statistics for Whānau:
- In 2017, Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy recognised that tamariki Māori were more likely to be removed from their families and placed in state homes than non-Māori.
- In 2017, at least 45 babies were taken the day they were born, and more than half were uplifted from young Māori mothers.
- On average, three pēpi per week are uplifted by Oranga Tamariki.
- Of the 821 children removed from their parents within three months of birth between 2016 and 2018, approximately 56% were Māori, but this percentage increases to 63% when including tamariki whose ethnicity was identified as both Māori and Pacific Islander. This is despite Māori birth rates, only making up about 22% of births annually.
- The Ministry of Social Development advised that in 2001-2012, the number of Pākehā children in state care had fallen by 20%, while the figures for tamariki Māori increased by 20%. This reflects institutionalised racism and subconscious bias, as well as proof that what works for non-Māori does not work for Māori.
- The Crown is failing to ensure the safety of children who are placed into state care, particularly tamariki Māori. More than 220 children in state care were abused last year – 70% of whom were Māori.
Oranga Tamariki budget for 2019/20 is nearly $1.2 billion. Despite the failures of this system, it is rewarded each year.
- Budget 2019 delivered an additional $1billion over four years
- Budget 2018 delivered an additional $270 million over four years.
What will happen at the hui?
The hui will reconvene and feedback from each wānanaga will be given. This information will inform the terms of reference (intent, scope, and purpose of inquiry).