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Oranga Tamariki abuse power to punish Māori

3 February 2020

Fourteen armed police were used by Oranga Tamariki to uplift a five-month-old Māori baby from a mum, a new report has revealed.

Police and Oranga Tamariki staff converged on the home of the solo mum to execute an uplift order that had been green lighted by the Family Court without the whānau receiving any prior notification.

That is just one of the harrowing and disturbing cases uncovered by a comprehensive 6 month Māori-led nation-wide review of Oranga Tamariki.

The mum thought she was heading to a Family Group Conference (FCG) at Oranga Tamariki. But instead she was met at her door by heavily armed cops and police dogs.

The mum continues to be supported by her whānau and remains traumatised today by the uplift ambush.

Her story is among the hundreds contained in the just released 200 page report to be found online https://whanauora.nz/maori-inquiry/ that emerged from engaging with 1000 whānau - Māori and non-Māori - who shared their harrowing and inhumane dealings with the government agency.

The Inquiry has shone light on state agency collusion, abuse of power and racial profiling.

Dame Naida Glavish, who chaired the governance group overseeing the Māori review said this report confirms systemic failure, discrimination and inexplicable breaches of human rights towards Māori.

“We can clearly see from the volume of evidence - and the heavy handed approach inflicted on this whānau - that something is so systemically wrong. This entrenched behaviour is plain unjust,” Dame Naida said.

Dame Naida also paid tribute to the courageous whānau who fronted up to tell their stories and why it was important for Māori to lead its own review of Oranga Tamariki.

“We are deeply grateful to whānau who had the courage to stand up and speak their truth,” she said. “It was also important that Māori led the review and we as Māori look to our whānau for solutions.”

“This will not be a report that goes on the shelves with the hundreds of others. The findings back our call for a complete overhaul of Oranga Tamariki, the Family Court ex-parte order process and the law that facilitates uplifts.”

Last month the Children’s Commissioner review of Oranga Tamariki’s care and protection practices confirmed uplifts of Māori babies into state care is happening earlier and is greater for Māori than non-Māori.


For more information please contact Sarah Sparks 021318813.

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