Hands off our Tamariki Press Release
The Hands off Our Tamariki Network support the call from The Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency for Māori to undertake our own review of the Ministry. We also reiterate our call for the removal of the CEO of the Ministry of Children Grainne Moss and for the Prime Minister Jacinda Adern to step up and take a stronger oversight of the issue of the theft of Mori children.
Associate Professor Leonie Pihama states "we have been flooded with whānau stories about not only their experiences of the removal of their tamariki but also the ways in which the Ministry has denied access to visit with their tamariki and the permanent placement without discussion. There is clear systemic issues througout the organisation and this CEO saying that they are doing well in making changes shows the level of incompetency we are dealing with at the leadership level."
Recent revelations from lawyer Janet Mason that in the past 3 years 803 children have been uplifted, the majority of which will be Māori, and questions the legality of the uplift processes undertaken by the Ministry. This again calls into question the behaviour of the Ministry and also implicates Family Court in the increasing removal of Māori children.
Rihi Te Nana, a long term independent practitioner,
"We have been raising the issues of the failure of the Ministry for many years, and we keep reminding successive governments of the findings of the Puao-Te-Atatū report that highlighted these issues over 30 years ago. The racism embedded in this system has been clear to Māori for generations. We want this government to stop stealing our children".
It is time that the Prime Minister take the lead in this issue in the same way she has taken the lead in the changing of gun laws and the housing issues. The current Minister is clearly out of her depth and the Prime Minister needs to take a more active role in making the critical changes required.
AP Pihama states: "If PM Adern is serious about stopping the intergenerational abuse on tamariki Māori and whānau then she needs to acknowledge that the Ministry and therefore the State is itself perpetrating abuse on our people. So we are asking for her to meet with our organisation alongside Iwi and Māori organisations, Whānau Ora, Kaupapa Māori practitioners and survivor organisations to make the real change that needs to happen. That is a Treaty based focus that is about whānau ora."
Hands Off Our Tamariki have called for a National Rally against the removal of Māori tamariki on July 30th at Parliament at 12pm where they will present the Open Letter against the removal of tamariki Māori which has over 15000 signatures.