Oranga Tamariki welcomes Disability Advisory Group

Published: October 19, 2022

Oranga Tamariki welcomes 6 members of its first ever Disability Advisory Group with a mihi whakatau.

Disability Advisory Group
Disability Advisory Group members and Oranga Tamariki kaimahi after the mihi whakatau on Monday 10 October. Back row left to right: Erikka Helliwell, Mel Ahnau, Crystal Kire, Hannah Watson. Front row left to right: Donna Fasavalu, Arielle Lockheart, Claudia Boyles, Claire Gyde, Mike Sansom.

Oranga Tamariki welcomed the organisation’s first Disability Advisory Group with a mihi whakatau held Monday 10 October. 

The group is made up of 6 experts from a range of backgrounds, and includes perspectives from tangata whaikaha Māori (Māori disabled people), Pacific disabled people, neurodiverse people, care-experienced young people, and caregiving whānau of disabled children.

The Disability Advisory Group will work closely with the Chief Advisor Disability, Claudia Boyles, to provide advice and feedback to senior leaders at Oranga Tamariki.

The group’s expertise will help Oranga Tamariki kaimahi lift their capability and confidence to work effectively with, and for, disabled people.

Chappie Te Kani, Oranga Tamariki Chief Executive
Chief Executive, Chappie Te Kani, says he is excited to welcome the six Disability Advisory Group members to Oranga Tamariki.

Chief Executive Chappie Te Kani says he is excited to welcome our 6 Disability Advisory Group members.

'This is a huge step towards hearing and acting on the voices and experiences of disabled people in the care and youth justice systems. That is a crucial part of improving outcomes for disabled tamariki and rangatahi.

'It’s an opportunity to build and nurture our relationships with disabled communities, and to make sure we are upholding the rights of disabled people we work with,' he says.

Oranga Tamariki Chief Advisor, Disability, Claudia Boyles says the depth of knowledge in the group is extraordinary.

'It’s a real privilege to be able to work with this Advisory Group, each member has such a passion for creating positive change.

'We want to strengthen our approach, services and practices for disabled people.

Claudia Boyles, Chief Advisor Disability
Chief Advisor Disability, Claudia Boyles, says the depth of knowledge in the group is extraordinary.

'With the knowledge and expertise in this group, I believe we can create a significant shift in disability policies, practice and support,' she says.

One of the first initiatives the group will provide advice on is the Oranga Tamariki Disability Strategy.

The strategy will help Oranga Tamariki make positive changes to our services for disabled people, and to uphold the rights of tamariki and rangatahi whaikaha (disabled children and young people) and whānau hauā (disabled families).

If you would like to be involved with developing the strategy, you can find out more on our website: Supporting oranga for disabled people | Oranga Tamariki — Ministry for Children 

Disability Advisory Group members 

  • Arielle Lockheart 
  • Melanie (Mel) Ahnau 
  • Claire Gyde 
  • Hannah Watson 
  • Crystal Kire 
  • Ann-Madonna (Donna) Fasavalu