Waatea News Column: Two juxtapositions of the current furore over Oranga Tamariki uplifts


On Friday morning breakfast TV, Judith Collins bristled at suggestions that there was institutionalised racism inside Oranga Tamariki by simply stating, “just stop beating up kids, and you won’t need Oranga Tamariki”.

Such simplistic presentation of what is happening is disingenuous in the extreme. It was National Party policy to weaponise CYFs uplift powers into the Ministry of Vulnerable Children, they turned allegations into a 0800 number conveyor belt that streamlined legal processes, reduced parents rights and created a system with no independent oversight and parents weren’t eligible for legal aid.

Collin’s reduces this all to “just stop beating up kids” rather than a critical analysis of the policy.

Meanwhile, over the weekend, an enormous hui that brought together the most powerful voices and brains within Māoridom met to make it crystal clear that they won’t tolerate this counter productive madness any longer.

The need for Māori organisations to be funded directly to provide specific services to look after Māori children and families in distress is not just a great idea, it’s the articulation of the sovereignty the Treaty promises.

The irony that there is a historic investigation into the abuse of people in state care right as the current injustices are being exposed should be lost on no one.

It is time for Māori to speak and Government to listen.

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

First published on Waatea News.


  1. More than simplistic Martyn. It was arrogance and ignorance in the extreme as well a s cruel and heartless. Not surprising though.

    Those with parched, arid and barren minds will no doubt support Collins and in doing so will probably allude to recent instances where babies or children have been admitted to hospital with non-accidental injuries and cry she is right – but she isn’t right and neither are they. Her delusion of self-perceived grandeur is etched into the permanent sneer she maintains when damning the poor and vunerable and seeps, like a suppurating sore, through the equivalent of osmosis into the pores of her deluded and emotionally bankrupt supporters.

    To use this issue as Collins has done to promote herself simply shows her complete lack of understanding of the issue and her attitude towards the most vulnerable in our society.

    It has been said often enough and it is accepted that some of the children who have been uplifted by OT were in unsafe and violent environments. However, I bet not all children taken by OT were in that sort of environment.

    The babies of Maori mothers especially young Maori mothers as well as the mothers themselves are vulnerable to the heavy-handed brutality of OT. The photograph/video of the young mother with her baby about to be taken by OT supported by three glowering cops while she lay with her baby in a hospital bed epitomises everything that is wrong with OT and with the system but it is fantastic to read that Maori will not tolerate this sort of abuse any more.

    • We have an opportunity to unlock the Rosetta Stone between liberal and conservative language about Māori welfare. The issue for me is not whether or not you have to much aroha or not enough aroha. The issue for me is whether or not you have the correct kind of love that is very beneficial at locking out the kind of game playing we saw in Melanie Reid’s the next stolen generation.

      So if you think about an interoperable system like Lego. Y’know the pieces fit together in a particularly beautiful way. That interoperability would be the kind of leadership that is saying I think we can do a better job with state wards. That’s what I’m talking about, it’s not so easily disturbed and ruined by special pleading. Iwi leadership run by people like Merepeka Tait has internal consistency. She’s really not there to obfuscate, she’s much more elegant and much more easier to read and interpret.

      So the issue is finding a halfway point between colonization and economics because we haven’t yet broken through where the economics make Māori spare elegant and beautiful. One reason is once upon a time Māori affairs was 4 or more complicated hurdles from central and local politics to ministries and businesses. The current version is one Treaty Claims court, the broken system is still there in the background but Whanua Ora simplified the system so that it becomes completely conceptual rather than highly technical with lots of terms and pluses and minuses to remember.

      So I think it’s important to remember that the fear people have that the more Iwi leadership we have governing Māori institutions is entirely fake.

    • “…three glowering cops ” Youngsuff ? Really ? Can you provide a link please ?

      I didn’t see that. Glowering cops ?

      “.. seeps, like a suppurating sore, through the equivalent of osmosis into the pores of her deluded and emotionally bankrupt supporters.” Scientifically that is quite fascinating actually, because it suggests that Judith Collins’ supporters are of greater substance than she is, the intimation being that they are fairly smart cookies, and not just carrying Collins’- inflicted delusions of grandeur. Golly.

      Also- the photograph/video does not epitomise everything that is wrong with OT – it is one snapshot, in the middle of your Hyperbole 101 exercise – of one particular traumatising process.

  2. Well said YS.

    Pittosporum – if you look at the on-line definition of “osmosis” it includes this – “the process of gradual or unconscious assimilation of ideas, knowledge etc”. Perhaps YS should have used the phrase “political osmosis” but the meaning was clear.

    I have seen the shot of the three cops at the door of the hospital room and yes, they were glowering to put it mildly. Quite intimidating really for the young mother in the hospital bed.

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