Wait – what? Many State ‘uplift’s might be illegal? Where are the Orange Tamariki cheerleaders now?


Much of the counter argument to criticism of Oranga Tamariki’s child stealing policy is ‘these babies need to be rescued because the parents are shit’.


Let’s put aside the neoliberal policy reset that turned CYFs into the Ministry of Vulnerable Children and the brown washing of that agency into Oranga Tamariki. Let’s put aside using big data to predict future crimes. Let’s put aside the removal of legal aid for parents to fight an uplift or the watering down of parental guardian rights.

Let’s put aside the history of the state taking Māori babies.

Let’s put aside the research that shows children taken are more likely to be abused in stare care.

We know the independent oversight isn’t there and the Minister only signed off on some ideas that haven’t been implemented a year ago.

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But if your position is still to scream, ‘these babies need to be rescued because the parents are shit’, how does the simple fact that many of these uplifts could actually be illegal strike you?

Many state ‘uplifts’ of babies could be illegal: lawyer

Court action is planned to challenge the legality of ‘without notice’ uplifts of what could be hundreds of babies by the children’s ministry, Oranga Tamariki.

Hundreds of children and their whānau could be affected if the ministry’s legal tactics are ruled unlawful.

The legal action will focus on the way Oranga Tamariki wins permission from the Family Court to take children into state care, without giving the parents the chance to challenge its version of events.

Such ‘ex parte’ orders, done without notice to the mother or whānau, breach the family’s right to natural justice, lawyers say.

In the past three years 803 babies have been ‘uplifted’ – and many will have been taken after Oranga Tamariki used the ‘ex parte’ approach to the court. If that tactic is deemed unlawful, hundreds of cases could be affected.

…oh, so technically speaking this is less an ‘uplift’ and more baby trafficking, is that what I’m hearing?

The enormity of what has been happening is starting to dawn on media and politicians.

I argued in April this would be the case

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. 

…if this appalling policy isn’t even legal, heads must roll!

This is starting to look like another devastating fiasco like the state house meth hysteria.



  1. what about the Maori women that had their babies taken in the 60s & 70s due to social beliefs (not having a father there) this is before cyfs. I know of cases where their children were taken and they have never ever seen their kids and are still looking for them. There so much badness and its all the nasty state policies and those who oversaw them. And who mostly worked for the state back then and who got the jobs and delivered the nasty policies back then it was mostly pakeha people due to racism we didn’t get those jobs then and the damage that has been done. This whole issue opens up a can of worms about our governments departments ability to do what they are suppose to do.

    • Pakeha unmarried mothers had their babies taken for adoption in those times as well. It was a stifling religious and moral judgement just as much as a racial one. All of which we should be ashamed of.

  2. We were foster parent’s for a time, including for a time a young Maori youth for his last year in State Care. He had been taken from his mother as a baby. It was an entirely justified uplift. It no doubt saved his life. But anyone who thinks a life time in care under this State Agency (whatever its name) is good for a child is simply very very wrong.
    Vote to double the budget, vote to pay and train foster parents, volunteer as a foster parent…then the pro mass uplift crowd might have an argument…but meantime..nope…the best course of action if at all possible, is to keep children with whanau, supervised with ‘plans in place’.
    ‘ex parte’ may or maynot be legal..but I know for sure its morally inexcusable.

  3. you keep banging on this drum but how much experience have you had with some of the sad chaotic lives that need some of this intervention? Do you really want kids to stay with dangerous chaos? Chaos is the only way to describe some of these lives.
    No steady home.
    No proper diet.
    Synthetic cannabis.
    Better you get off your office chair and go for a wander amongst the lumpen proletariat. It can be overwelmingly sad and very depressing.

  4. Sorry Martyn, you are wrong about this and not for the reason that you probably think.
    There are only two positions here:
    1. Accept state intervention, or
    2. Not.
    Whether you like it or not governments are generally shit at most things they do (this is universal and not a lefr or right issue).
    If you vote #1, you need to accept a certain amount of collateral damage to these children’s lives no matter how much time and money is poured into the problem.
    If you choose #2, you need to accept that some people are resoundingly unfot to be parents and once again collateral damage will result.
    If you believe that government intervention without such damage is possible, you are an idealistic dreamer with no graps on reality.
    It aint pretty, but its the truth.

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