Now Pakeha media have highlighted the horror of Oranga Tamariki’s theft of Māori children – will Government be shamed into action?


Thank Jesus Pakeha media have finally picked up on the horror of Oranga Tamariki’s theft of Māori children.

I have been arguing since 2016 that this appalling action by Oranga Tamariki amounts to a stolen generation. 

I stated in my political wrap up of the first 18 months of the new Government that

Children in State Care:At some point the enormity and horror of an underfunded agency stealing children from their parents and placing them into state care where they are abused is going to shame the nation into action. Unfortunately it gains little or no attention because the majority of kids taken are Māori and with no Māori Party to champion this, the issue stays under the radar.

…The Hui and Waatea Radio have worked incredibly hard at breaking this story earlier this year, but because of the deeply racist manner in which NZ media unconsciously works, it doesn’t become news until Pakeha media investigates it.

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We all accept that there will be some parents who are a danger to their children, but they are the exception, not the rule, and the incredibly low thresholds being used to seize children is just unacceptable. We know these children have more risk of being abused in State care, we know these children taken into state care tend to turn up in our prisons, we know that we are not supporting vulnerable parents to help them be the best parents they can be.

We just waltz in and take new born babies from the arms of mothers.

And we do it with such ease the the Mother is Māori.

It sickens me and listening to these Wellington bureaucrats justify this abuse is galling.

We know how the neoliberal welfare state treats the most vulnerable, their crocodile tears wipe away none of this ugly stain.

I swear, if the bloody State attempted to take my child from me, I would cut every one of them down.

Every. Single. One.

How can this be the Politics of Kindness?


  1. This is obviously very worrying. I saw the pictures of the Oranga Tamariki women online, and was immediately struck by them all being large women in garishly coloured clothing, rather than being professional looking social workers, and if the authorities are deliberately choosing Maori to hit on Maori, then I assume that selecting people built like prison wardens and dressed like clowns, is part of the intimidation process designed to create a power imbalance.

    Confrontation is 70’s philosophy, and the least effective way of solving any sensitive or complex issue, ever. Subjecting newly delivered Mums and their babies to govt sanctioned brutality is lazy and bullying, and I query the humanity and the wisdom of the decision makers who have developed a one-size-fits-all template, and then use the police to enforce it. Its not ok.

    Question: Where is the evidence that children entrusted to the state are better for it ?

    Answer: Non-existent.

  2. I just watched the Melanie Reid film clip you referenced above, and it is hugely harrowing and totally shocking. I am beyond crying.

    Guess part of Oranga Tamariki’s agenda was to provide a brother for the child’s older sibling who had been placed with an English family. Oranga Tamariki showed themselves to be sly, totally untrustworthy, plain scruffy- in itself offensive turning up with just-out-of-bed hair.

    I didn’t like their seemingly regarding the baby as an object, and their lack of respect and concern for mum, baby, and the young dad. No woman should be subjected to the lengthy torturous scenario which this young mother was. Bill of Rights: Cruel and Unusual.

    Nor did her new-born baby benefit in any way from having a mother so
    consumed with anxiety and fear entirely due to the govt body which is theoretically responsible for the well being of all of our children.

    Even worse, this just skims the surface of the issues facing deprived and dislocated Maori communities. In this case, whanau have come together to provide help and support, but in other cases other mothers’ lives must be enough to drive them to drink or drugs. And pious humbugs bemoan Maori women’s smoking rates. Stuff them.

    As a reader and re-reader of Dickens, nothing could have prepared me
    for seeing real-life film of how inadequate people with power interact with people on the fringe of main stream society in this cold barbaric little country – clueless or uncaring, or both, about the damage which they themselves are perpetuating.

    • Melanie Reid is a journalist of the highest quality and integrity

      it is absolutely terrible separating new Mothers from their babies

      ….what is needed is support

  3. Actually the Family Court makes – or approves soon after in the case of urgent removals – the decision to seperate children from parents.

    • The family court another group that take our Maori kids this court isn’t a family court its kangaroo micky mouse bullshit court

    • By the time it gets to the stage of removing a cild from a family, that family is dysfunctional and a dangerous envirinment

      I think we’ve forgotten the number of children abused and bashed to death and the failure if MSD, CYFS, oranga tamariki to act quifkly

      In case we need reminding, Nia Glassie is one victim of a dysfunctional family

      Hand wringing by middle class white liberals who have no concept of the stresses in these families will not bring back dead children

      Oranga tamariki is doing its job. It is unpleasant and so it should be. This is a last resort option. No child should be lightly removed from its home without vrry good reason

    • Ada, there are sometimes alternatives, as we saw here. If the Family Court is involved, then mother and baby should also have legal representation, and the FC should ensure that they do.

      Back in the days when having a child out of wedlock was a social disgrace, girls were pressured to give their children up for adoption.There was no DPB. One fellow student talked lengthily to me about how Social Welfare removed her baby straight after it was born without her even seeing it, because they thought that it would be bad for her.

      It looks as if Oranga Tamariki is continuing the same heavy-handed practices, and there are always alternatives to confrontation, always.

      Confrontation is for when all else fails, but the alternatives require skills which these Oranga Tamariki persons may not possess.

      This lass in the film clip had her first baby removed under false pretenses, which was cruel, and legally questionable. Often the mothers then have another baby to replace the missing one.

      I remember Anne Tolley being questioned about single mothers, and saying words to the effect that they keep having kids because they must like sex. Sexual pleasure may have little to do with it; it may in fact be non-existent, it is a cop-out answer for a complex situation, and not good enough when children’s interests – often both a young mother and baby – are the crux of the whole issue.

      If babies are being removed from mothers and mothers are then being left to function presumably healthily, often entirely on their own, then Oranga Tamarki are creating problems, and they need to be answerable for this right now. This is all bad.

      • Do you think Melanie Reid has told the whole truth about the situation?
        I don’t.

        And I don’t think what happened in the 50s and 69s has much bearing on what happens today.

        • 50s and ..69s ay?

          If you don’t think a generation or so ago has much bearing on what happens today, then you have absolutely no idea about child abuse, and should no more research.

          At least one out of three abusers were themselves abuse victims, as one intergenerational example – and the impacts spread out from there, to the situation we have today, with the first world’s worst rate of youth suicide.

        • Ada (a) Dunno; the confrontation would not have come out of the blue, if the mother was already lawyer-ed up. I very much doubt if Melanie Reid would deliberately mislead.

          (b) Somewhere there’s a quote from Eugene O”Neill, ” There is no present or future, just the past happening over and over again now.”

  4. While the police seemed to play a positive role in this case they are just as bad when it comes to the poor and unfair treatment of our Maori people and some of the stories will be just as harrowing if not worse.

  5. Of course, Oranga Tamariki are unable to publicly defend their actions as to do so would breach the privacy of the clients of OT – the children. It is sad that even the more on-to-it media are so misinformed as to hold your perspective Martie … Yes OT are well aware of the disproportionate representation of Maori children in care but the organisation IS taking steps to address this – in fact s7aa of the new legislation is an integral part of this – do some research and check it out. When dealing with intergenerational poverty subsequent to Pakeha colonisation it will take time to address the overrepresentation, but concrete steps are underway – It is massively unreasonable to expect an organisation that has only existed for 2 years to overturn 180 years of disadvantage.

    In terms of children in care being abused – YES this is a massive issue for OT … and not in any way condoning abuse in care, but has anyone consider how much abuse uplifting children were enduring with their kin supports? If no action was taken is it okay to knowly leave a child in a situation where they are being abused just because they are fmaily members? Clearly not. It is a sad endightment on NZ society that we have the amongst the hisghest rates of family violence, domestic violence – hell, violence per se. The old “she’ll be right” attitude is no longer acceptable for our most vulernable children.

  6. I knew a boy who didn’t know that he was adopted. He was very close to one of my children. He never understood why he didn’t get on with his mother. He was told that he was Scottish.

    Straight A student at VU, after attending an alpha white male secondary school. Went to London, got a good job.

    An aunt in London not knowing what he didn’t know, told him he was adopted into the family, and a Maori from Taumarunui.

    Along the track he was on a railway track and run over by a train. The
    St Pancras coroner returned an open verdict. He’d be in his 40’s now.

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