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“It’s high time to listen to whānau” says the Māori Party

February 3rd 2020

“Inter-generational whānau care. In the past our tupuna lived in a community where everyone lived together in the village or marae. Our tamariki, rangatahi, kaumatua all lived together, and all looked out for one another. This concept worked in our tupuna time and it still works now” (Ko te wā whakawhiti: Time for change: 2020, p42)

Māori Party President, Che Wilson, is dismayed at the findings of the Māori inquiry into Oranga Tamariki, which restates the tragic continuity of disempowerment, uplifts and separation and its adverse impact upon children and whanau.

“In 2014, the Māori Party introduced Section 7aa into the Oranga Tamariki legislation, which required the department to have regard to mana tamariki, whakapapa and whanaungatanga responsibilities between whanau, hapu and iwi and Māori children. It is therefore devastating to see one of the key findings is around whakapapa trauma, intergenerational loss and trauma; precisely the issues that Section 7aa was set up to respond to”.

Other findings reinforce the impact of racial bias or prejudice; experiences of uplifts which are described as ‘intimidating and violent’ and persistent concerns with the competency, capacity and behavior of the workforce.

“The issues around navigating the Oranga Tamariki system are not new and that is what is so frustrating about yet another report revealing the hoops whanau have to jump through” said Mr Wilson.

“The answers are right in front of us – amongst our whanau, hapu and iwi; amongst our Whanau Ora navigators; in the implementation of Whanau Ora; in the direction of Section 7aa. One has to wonder why the government has taken such a conservative and cautious approach in turning the tide of fortune for our most precious taonga, our tamariki mokopuna”.

“The reports conclude in brilliant clarity: whanau with lived experience need to drive the solutions collectively with whanau, hapu, iwi and hapori”.

“Rather than throwing Budget billions at propping up the existing system, the Māori Party believes it is high time to listen to the voices of whanau who have found the courage to speak of their experience. We need to stop excluding and alienating parents and whanau, we need a system which fully engages our whanau in these life-changing decisions around their children”.

"We commend the staunch determination of iwi such as Ngati Porou and Tuhoe who have demanded total responsibility for all matters pertaining to their children in care"

“We thank the two Whanau Ora Commissioning Agencies who collaborated together, to bring the voices of whanau to the fore. The Māori Party is particularly grateful to the whanau who brought forward clear recommendations for the way support is designed, delivered, implemented and funded. Their challenge is unequivocal: whanau want tino rangatiratanga and mana back, so that all tamariki Māori can find their whakapapa, whenua and whanau.


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