OCC report - media statement

Published: November 23, 2020

Oranga Tamariki acknowledges the second part of the Te Kuku o Te Manawa report.

To be attributed to Oranga Tamariki Chief Executive Gráinne Moss

Oranga Tamariki acknowledges the second part of the Te Kuku o Te Manawa report, and the whānau, midwives, community organisations and social workers who shared their personal experiences.

Chief Executive Gráinne Moss said it was useful to see that the issues identified in the report were similar to those highlighted in previous reviews.

While the Ministry had made real progress in those areas, it was crucial to listen to the views of others in order to continue that good work.

“All New Zealanders want the same thing," said Ms Moss. “We want to ensure that tamariki Māori are safe and well cared for."

“Over the last two years we have seen a 50% drop in the number of pēpi coming into care.  This is due to our commitment to working alongside Māori to support tamariki."

“Our shared goal is that tamariki and rangatahi are at home thriving under the care of their whānau, hapū and iwi."

“When a child needs to urgently come into Oranga Tamariki care, practice changes made last year have led to a significant reduction in without notice applications to the court.”

Ms Moss said the recommendations of Te Kuku o Te Manawa would be assessed alongside the findings of the Waitangi Tribunal urgent inquiry, which will reconvene in Wellington later this week.

“Oranga Tamariki is approaching the Waitangi Tribunal Urgent Inquiry in good faith. We support the process and will continue to engage constructively with both the claimants and the Tribunal.”

Ms Moss noted that the key recommendation from the Office of the Children’s Commissioner is that the Prime Minister and Cabinet commit to transferring power and resources from Government to Māori to enable a Māori-led approach. While the organisation was committed to moving further down this path within the limits of current law, any further changes were a decision for the Government to make, not Oranga Tamariki.

 “We will be looking to guidance from the Waitangi Tribunal and direction from Ministers before commenting further on the vision expressed in Te Kuku o Te Manawa.”

The Tribunal is currently assessing whether Oranga Tamariki legislation, policies and practices are consistent with the Treaty of Waitangi, with specific regard to the disproportionate numbers of tamariki Māori being taken into state care.