Waatea News Column: I will continue writing about the state taking children until something meaningful has occurred


If you have the privilege of a platform, you must endeavour to use that platform for good. I have written previous columns about the extraordinary abuse of power by the state when they take children into their ‘care’.

We have over 6000 children who have been taken into State care, 59% are Maori, and more than 200 were abused in a mere 6 months while in ‘state care’.

I have written previous columns discussing this unacceptable abuse but a recent story highlighting the appallingly haphazard manner in which Oranga Tamariki abuse the power to step in and take children at birth demands everyone in NZ with a platform to direct it to this ugly issue.

The power to remove ones children from their parents is one of the most coercive powers the state has over its citizens, yet by all accounts Oranga Tamariki seem to have an evidential threshold that looks more like the Salem Witch Trials than progressive social policy.

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The obscenely high Māori newborn separation stats (110 in 2015 to 172 last year) reek of institutional racism and I can not help but feel that if this were Pakeha children being removed at birth, the media would be uncompromising in their roasting of the responsible Minister.

How on earth could the inhumane manner in which the whanau were treated in Hawkes Bay Hospital last week be acceptable? The hospital was in lockdown as a stand-off between midwives, social workers and police took place. None of that should have happened and there must be urgent reviews of what Oranga Tamariki think they are doing.

Jacinda Ardern called for a new politics of kindness. Where was the kindness in taking a baby from a 19 year old mother using the force of Police?

I will continue writing columns about this atrocious abuse of power on the weakest and most vulnerable.

First published on Waatea News.


  1. Under a “Neo-liberal /National light” government, will any ‘meaningful change’ ever happen?

    Only haphaps yet more rorting of the system only to enrich the influential rich and Government members is all we are bound to see.

    When did we last have a truly honest MP to believe in is the qurestion?

    I am having trouble recalling the last time, as it must have been long ago.

  2. Terrible alright!….a traumatised new mother and a traumatised new baby at the very time they both need the most peace and support to establish a happy bonding!

    It is indefensible !

  3. Unfortunately you are right, but something still has to be done.
    The police are far more in tune to the dynamics of family violence than they used to be, but it’s unclear if other govt depts are not still bungling around in the past.

    The next step should be a calling to account of Oranga Tamariki when children in their care are abused, even if this means a trebling of their funding. That’s how important our children are, and have to be.

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