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Waitangi Tribunal grants targeted urgent inquiry

The Waitangi Tribunal has granted an urgent hearing into Oranga Tamariki’s practices and policies, however Chief Judge Issac has determined it will be a targeted inquiry into the Treaty consistency of the Crown’s current legislation, policies and practices for the taking of tamariki Māori into state care.

Former claimant in the Department of Corrections Inquiry, Dr Rawiri Waretini-Karena, is part of a group of claimants along with Kerri Nuku on behalf of the Māori Nurses organisation and Dr Alison Green, all of whom have filed evidence against Oranga Tamariki, under their Wai 2891 claim.

Dr Waretini-Karena, recently back from Thailand stated “I am part of an amazing team of people submitting evidence against Oranga Tamariki to the Waitangi Tribunal. The challenge is real”

He also stated “I am extremely happy that Chief Judge Issac has granted this urgent inquiry only 3 months after we filed in support of Jean Te Huia’s application. The timing of the inquiry couldn’t come fast enough because the rate at which our tamariki Māori are being uplifted and how are unconscionable. As a state care survivor myself, each day that passes is another day of our tamariki being subjected to abuse.”

Paora Crawford Moyle, a state care survivor and advocate for people who have been abused in state care has been a strident voice for some years about the institutional racism that exists within the Ministries of the government and the impacts that historical trauma has had on generations of tamariki Māori.

“For thousands of us who have experienced colonial violence through the genocidal uplift of our children generation after generation, this is a chance for us to breathe in some fresh air. My whaanau, everyone of us experience anxiety trauma and breathing can be a difficulty. I actually felt my lungs fill when I heard the news.” says Ms Crawford Moyle.

On 30 July this year, Ms Crawford Moyle, Ms Green and Mr Waretini-Karena participated in the Hands Off Our Tamariki hikoi in Wellington delivering a 17,000-signature petition calling for the government to “stop stealing Māori children”.

Two other independent inquiries have also been launched.

The Māori Inquiry into Oranga Tamariki led by Whanau Ora is calling for submssions of peoples experience of state care and the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care, begins tomorrow with two weeks of contextual hearings to be held at The Rydges hotel in Auckland. Drs Waretini-Karena, Alison Green and Moana Jackson are due to present their submissions on Wednesday.

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