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Māori Leader To Waitangi Tribunal “Oranga Tamariki Cannot Be Healed”

The horror of harm being done by Oranga Tamariki to Māori babies and whānau can be stopped says a distinguished Māori leader ahead of Wai 2915 the Urgent Inquiry into Oranga Tamariki.

Chair of the National Urban Māori Authority, Lady Tureiti Moxon, says Māori have capacity and capability to do better than Oranga Tamariki.

The historic urgent inquiry of the Waitangi Tribunal into the harm being done by Oranga Tamariki to Māori is due to begin in Wellington tomorrow with two days of contextual evidence.

Lady Tureiti Moxon will be the first witness to present before Judge Doogan and the presiding panel.

“Oranga Tamariki cannot be healed. It is damaging our babies and our whānau. The solution is for us to be able to heal ourselves,” she says.

Lady Tureiti’s claim is on behalf of all Māori as well as Māori organisations with proven success in caring for Māori whānau, mothers and babies.

Moxon is adamant that there already exists a highly effective an alternative to Oranga Tamariki in ‘by Māori, for Māori, with Māori’ approaches as a Treaty partner with the Crown.

Her brief of evidence calls loudly for self-determination. She is opening the inquiry by asking the Tribunal to be brave enough to recognise Māori capacity and capability to determine what’s best to empower and support Māori whānau, and not to try to fix Oranga Tamariki which is beyond repair.

“I ask that the Tribunal keep in mind that the solution already lies with Māori, in recognition of our Mana Motuhake and Tino Rangatiratanga.”

In evidence Lady Tureiti states that Oranga Tamariki punishes and harms parents and children. Her view is that the best approach is a by Māori, for Māori, with Māori approach which empowers and supports Māori to look after themselves and their children.

Lady Tureiti evidences successful examples of ‘by Māori, for Māori, with Māori approaches’ including Māori owned and run GP clinics. The Ministry of Health recognised them in the Hauora Inquiry as the benchmark for all GP clinics.

The Tribunal’s watershed report on that inquiry, the Hauora Report, in July last year recognised the call for self-determination, saying “We observe that the demand for structures and services that are ‘by Māori, for Māori’ across all sectors of social service design and delivery is a current and future reality that successive governments of the day will face. That demand will not diminish; it will only increase in the years to come.”

It recommended a Māori health authority as a concrete recognition of Māori capability and capacity for Māori to care for their own. Lady Tureiti is calling for similar recognition from the Waitangi Tribunal in relation to caring for babies and whānau.

Other witnesses appearing at the hearing include Dame Iritana Tāwhiwhirangi DNZM MBE, the Children’s Commissioner, Judge Andrew Becroft and Helen Leahy, CEO of Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu, the South Island Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency.

Dame Tariana Turia, Dame Naida Glavish, Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency Chair, Merepeka Raukawa-Tait and many other Māori leaders have confirmed they will be attending the hearing in support.

The contextual hearing into Oranga Tamariki will be held from 8.30am until 5pm from 30 to 31 July at Level 7, Fujitsu Tower, 141 The Terrace Wellington.


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