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Te Pūtahitanga O Te Waipounamu Welcomes Te Kuku O Te Manawa Review Recommendations

Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu has welcomed the recommendations from Te Kuku o te Manawa – the review of Oranga Tamariki undertaken by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner.

“The six areas of change represent important declarations of faith in supporting the whānau structure to raise their pēpi,” said Tā Mark Solomon, Chairperson of the General Partner Limited Board for Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu.

“The report describes the need for strategies to uphold tikanga and Māori values and principles, including whakapapa and an understanding of the importance of te whare tangata; very much what we expect to see realised through Section 7aa of the Oranga Tamariki legislation”.

“The review is distressing to read. The stories of the mums and whānau of pēpi were both consistent and heart breaking. The commonalities of the whānau experiences raise concerns about systemic issues facing the statutory care and protection system and current impacts on pēpi, their mums and whānau. These māmā shared their reflections that the statutory care and protection system and other agencies have hurt whānau; that social workers have all the power, that the system is ‘harmful’ and that whānau need support.

“In our own reports released earlier this year, whānau told us that parents, mothers, grandparents are not informed their child/baby is going to be permanently placed without their permission, knowledge or consent,” (Te Mura o te Ahi: Fighting for our tamariki, 2020, p. 32) said Tā Mark.

Our pepi, aged 0-3 months, are so very vulnerable – and so very precious – to us all. We must all do our very best to ensure that the system of the state works with the systems of care for whānau wellbeing, so that the love and protection of whānau are enabled to provide the best support possible for our babies.

“What we are pleased to see in the report, is the tangible support for practices that focus on the long-term wellbeing of the pēpi and their whānau, hapū and iwi.

The report states:

“Examples of strength-based models that are grounded in tikanga Māori and are designed for and by Māori demonstrate how supports and services can be carried out in a way that enhances pēpi and whānau wellbeing. Models such as Whānau Ora, Te Kohanga Reo, and Mātua Whāngai, are examples of successful approaches that can help inform a statutory care and protection system that respects te whare tangata and the role of whānau and whakapapa in te ao Māori (pg 57).

“Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu appreciates the support of Oranga Tamariki for our approach of Mokopuna Ora, which is established in six locations across Te Waipounamu. This is about whānau, hapū, iwi, Māori organisations, kōhanga reo and marae being enabled to care for our mokopuna in ways which enable rangatiratanga, whanaungatanga and kaitiakitanga to be exercised. We have every confidence that our traditional support networks provide a level of expertise, excellence and enthusiasm for caring for our babies, that can be fundamental towards keeping all of our babies safe,” said Tā Mark.

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