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Exit of Moss vital first step in the sequence of transformation - NUMA

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The sudden departure of Graine Moss from her Chief Executive role at Oranga Tamariki is a vital first step in a sequence of changes that must take place at the Ministry according to a group of wahine Māori leaders.

Dame Naida Glavish, Dame Tariana Turia, Dame Iritana Tāwhiwhirangi, Dame Areta Kopua, Lady Tureiti Moxon and Merepeka Raukawa-Tait are "over the moon" hearing the news saying it’s a principled and responsible decision by Moss. "It has been a long time in coming but at least now we can see light at the end of the tunnel," Dame Naida said.

The group led a crusade against Oranga Tamariki calling it out over its treatment of Māori and the severing of whakapapa and will continue to advocate for a Mokopuna Māori Authority. "I hope this is a signal from the Crown that this is the start of devolution of tamariki Māori from Oranga Tamariki to Māori. Rangatiratanga and mana motuhake can only be realised if this happens so we can look after ourselves in our own way," said Lady Tureiti Moxon, Chair of the National Urban Māori Authority (NUMA).

In 2020 the group filed an urgent claim against Oranga Tamariki in the Waitangi Tribunal on behalf of the National Urban Māori Authority. Given that 60 to 70 percent of children in State care are Māori, the claim advocated that 60 to 70 percent of the resources go to Māori.

They’ve long challenged the leadership under the tenure of Moss and the toxic culture of Oranga Tamariki.

"She’s been the head at that Ministry for four years and the culture hasn’t changed. It’s been far too slow and taken far too long to stop the trauma and the hurt and the pain that a lot of our families have been experiencing and continue to experience. Unless that changes all we’re doing is perpetuating the fallacy that the Government knows much better than the people in our communities and the parents," Moxon says.

An affiliate of NUMA, the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency agrees that it’s time to put whānau first.

"Whānau Ora wants whānau to be healthy, resilient and living full lives within their communities. The work we do supports whnau to reach their unlimited potential. It’s all about whānau and building connections, not separating anyone, least of all tamariki from their whānau. Build them up, don’t tear them down," says Merepeka Raukawa-Tait, Chair of the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency.

The leaders are hopeful that the Crown see Sir Wira Gardiner as part of the devolution of Oranga Tamariki to Māori given his appointment as interim CEO.

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