Media statement – Chappie Te Kani

Published: December 1, 2022

Media statement from Chappie Te Kani, Chief Executive of Oranga Tamariki. Oranga Tamariki pledges action in Malachi’s memory.

Oranga Tamariki has outlined what it’s doing in response to the death of five-year-old Malachi Subecz at the hands of his caregiver.

“Malachi’s death saddened me to the core,” said Oranga Tamariki Chief Executive Chappie Te Kani.

“Not just for the suffering this innocent boy endured, or the pain his whānau will feel forever. But also because we didn’t act to save his life.

“I have apologised to Malachi’s whānau and will continue to do so. But apologies mean nothing without actions to back them.

“That’s why today I am setting out how we will do better.

“Some of these changes have already been made. I’ve made it very clear to kaimahi that there are certain aspects of social work practice that are non-negotiable, and that we’ll give them better training and support to get there.

“There have been changes at the site most closely involved in Malachi’s case. I have sent senior managers and social workers to the site to give support and improve practice.

“I’ve directed that only social workers with more than a year’s experience should undertake initial assessments: these are complex decisions which require our most experienced social workers.

“And we are working with the Social Workers Registration Board to tackle nationwide social worker shortages.

“Some of the changes involve us working more closely with other agencies to ensure no child falls between the gaps, as Dame Karen Poutasi points out in her far-reaching report released today.

“So for example if there are concerns about abuse we will engage every time with the Ministry of Health as well as Police.

“We are also pressing ahead with our Future Direction Plan, which transforms how we respond to reports of concern and share decision-making with partners, whānau, and communities.”

Oranga Tamariki has today released its Chief Social Worker’s Practice Review into Malachi’s death, as well as the management response setting out actions to be taken.

“We can never forget that tamariki like Malachi are at the heart of everything we do,” said Chappie Te Kani.

“All of us – Oranga Tamariki, other agencies, whānau, and communities  must do everything in our power to keep these tamariki, our taonga, safe from harm. Malachi will forever be a reminder of that shared duty.” 


Read Chief Social Worker's practice review and Oranga Tamariki Te Riu management response