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Maori Council call for calm and a plan when it comes to Oranga Tamariki

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The New Zealand Maori Council has called on both Maori and the Crown to "step back for a moment and start working on a plan to finally break the circuit that sees so many children taken into State care."

Matthew Tukaki, Executive Director of the Council has said that "we have been here before with reports and recommendations that have come from inquires such as that into the uplift of a baby in the Hawkes Bay. I remember the recommendations that came out of the James Whakaruru case where agencies just were not working with each other and it was debatable about their engagement with whanau." Tukaki said

"What we need is for this report, and those to come, to be the circuit breaker where we work together in partnership with each other to ensure that not one more baby is uplifted or not one more child is taken into the care of the State. And I am sure that view is held with all New Zealanders. The question is how we get there. Calling for the closure of the agency and the sacking of its CEO doesn’t answer the problem - the problem being what do we need to do to get to where we all want to be. So, I will say again:

1. A national complimentary workforce between Maori service providers and OT whereby we share the burden to ensure that we all know what needs to be done when it comes to meeting the demand upon all of us. Child protection and case is not a nine to five job - its 24 hours a day and seven days a week 365 days a year. So, we need to build the workforce and therefore build capacity.

2. A national investment discussion that will see the building of both capacity and capability of Maori service providers from the smallest of Maori communities to the largest of our urban centers. Now infrastructure is light on - I want it to be heavy on - I want the investment needed to build the capacity to take on our share of the responsibility - that’s what partnerships look like.

3. A review of the social worker registration board and the legal system that often lock our whanau out. If that means an increase in investment for whanau accessing legal advice and support before during and after an uplift, then so be it. But also means ensuring our whanau know their rights and the Courts must be directed by the Chief Judge of the District Court to ensure that voice is heard ahead of a decision to uplift.

4. A national network of mentors to support our tamariki and rangatahi in juvenile justice centers to give them a pathway on the outside towards education, employment and more.

"There are of course more - but I what the Council wants to see are solutions - solutions driven by partnerships between Maori and the Crown and that includes the enacting of the 7AA legislation that came into being from the 1st of July. We can fight with each other on this issue until the cow’s home - what we need to do is double down on our efforts to finally find the way through in the interests of whanau and our children. To me the only thing that matters are the needs of our children and the needs of our whanau - anything else is starting to look like politics and grandstanding." Tukaki said.

"Ultimately having a direct service delivery model in partnership with Maori, iwi and hapu, OT, the DHBs, the police and the courts is where we need to be." Tukaki said

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