Waatea News Column: Why diverting Oranga Tamariki funding to a Maori Authority isn’t good enough!


If the only solution that we arrive at with the mutation that is Oranga Tamariki is to divert funding to a Māori Authority to run, then we have failed miserably in this crucial debate.

It would be unacceptable in the extreme for Māori to identify the damage Oranga Tamariki cause and seek only to save their own children.

There are all races of New Zealander in state care, they all deserve the genuine healing Māoridom are demanding for their own children.

For social policy as important as this, we are ignoring the fact Oranga Tamariki is a right-wing social experiment, and as such, is failing everyone.

Oranga Tamariki was set up using big data to intervene earlier so as to save the State downstream costs like Policing, Courts and Corrections. It is there for the welfare of the State NOT the welfare of the children.

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Parents rights have been legally watered down, there is no clear oversight to uplifts, there is no independent body other than the Children’s Commissioner who seems to only be symbolic.

Oranga Tamariki as a culture is infected with this neoliberal focus on saving the State money, that simple fact can’t be ignored.

The solution is not to divert funding to a Mokopuna Authority, the solution is that the Mokopuna Authority take over Oranga Tamariki!

Every child in NZ deserves the healing focus and sense of whanau that the Mokopuna Authority is offering, this isn’t just about protecting and enhancing the welfare of Māori children, this needs to be a social service revolution that includes ALL children.

Our most vulnerable children from the most damaged spaces in our society from some of the harshest communities deserve Kaupapa values that see them as an individual part of a collective that builds them up rather than as a possible ongoing cost to the State.

The former is progress, the latter is the status quo.

What is most egregious is that we are needing to have to fight for these changes at the same time as there is a Royal Commission of Inquiry into historic abuse by the State.

The Treaty demands we consider Māori sovereignty to run social services.

The damning statistics demand we consider Māori sovereignty to run social services.

History demands we consider Māori sovereignty to run social services.


First published on Waatea News.


  1. “For social policy as important as this, we are ignoring the fact Oranga Tamariki is a right-wing social experiment, and as such, is failing everyone.”
    Ain’t that the truth!
    And unfortunately, pandering to senior public servants (including one or two cargo cultists more interested in treats and trinkets and building impressive C.Vs with fancy job titles) ain’t going to cut it IF we want to get serious about the problem. Nor is another “rebrand” or a ribbit ribbit pivot pivot.
    Hopefully it doesn’t take till 2023 for Labour to wake up, though I fear it maybe – but for a few.

    • ‘pandering to senior public servants (including one or two cargo cultists more interested in treats and trinkets and building impressive C.Vs with fancy job titles) ain’t going to cut it IF we want to get serious about the problem’

      Spot on!

      Sadly Jacinda and co, don’t seems to have the balls, nor apparently do they have the nouse, to do anything about it. Do they even want to?

      So, the ongoing disaster of neoliberlism, which has enriched the few -including the said bureaucrats- at the expense of the many, continues.

      It seems that collapse the economic system and collapse of the global environment are what will terminate neoliberalism and terminate the culture of greed that permeates the civil service (and much of the non-civil service). And both get ever closer, with the latest report on the environment being quite shocking: the methane hydrates we were told were not going to erupt have started to erupt in huge quantities:

      ‘At one location on the Laptev Sea slope at a depth of about 300 metres they found methane concentrations of up to 1,600 nanomoles per litre, which is 400 times higher than would be expected if the sea and the atmosphere were in equilibrium.’


      Interestingly, nearly a decade ago Igor Semiletov and his colleague Natalia Shakova flagged the potential for rapid release of methane from overheated deposits, and were ignored by governments around the world (of course).

      Meanwhile, the global economic collapse is also accelerating, despite what the talking heads say.

  2. Yes I agree with you Martyn and this sets a precedent for some of our other failing government agencies to also be dismantled, correction comes to mind but here are others that have also been ineffective. And to make matters worse many of our government agencies have just continued with the same old approach despite the evidence showing they have not worked. You may ask what evidence is that, prison rates, our kids leaving school with no or very little qualifications or skills to help them into work , increased numbers of people on benefits both long term and short term, NEETS, educational failures, high morbidity rates, too many NZers dying prematurely and the list goes on.

  3. Well some time back me a Pakeha, gained custody of my two son!s, then one, Seven other Five, and still now them ARE my adult sonse with my gran children the other still off and on living with me. Today, even then, that was a major achievement a Pakeha, gaining custody of Maori Mokopuna. But I did that then some twenty odd years ago, today would never happen the Mokopuna!s would be inverted into their race culture, the Whanau decided by in most cases on the behest of this legal race unskilled Aoatearo Tamraniki.
    My children and gran children are still Maori, only difFrence their old man and Koro, PAKEHA.

  4. Actually many Maoris children were given to Pakeha and they were not their whanau as this was common practise. Although OT due to public pressure (namely Maori) have now formed some partnerships with Maori tribes and community groups to stop this practise. My mother is a Pakeha (who doesn’t mind being called a Pakeha) and she got custody of one of her mokopuna about 16 years ago so what is your point Austringer.

  5. I see Jean Te Huia the Nurse involved in OT uplifts has raised the issue of the racist practises of some of our Nurses in NZ, this does not surprise me, I work in public health and I have heard and seen it all. Te Huia said many of these Nurses came from overseas and she mentioned a white South African women’s comments saying some of our women should be sterilised. This is precisely why we need our own services, our own everything. We simply cannot have this type of people bringing their racist baggage to our country. Nor do we want these type of racist teaching our kids. Te Huia raises an important point particularly at a time when so many people want to come here. Our government has a responsibility to ensure they are not letting these racist bigots into our county.

  6. Now that Labour have the mandate for change they might want to look carefully at all of our government agencies/departments with their Maori lens. Adrian Ruawhe said during the election that all of the Labour Maori electoral candidates (his colleagues) look at all issues with their Maori lens. Now when I look at and hear many of our government agencies like the NZ Police, OT, Corrections, Probation services, ACC, MSD to name a few, I can see rot. I wonder if they can see this rot, and if not why not or are they suffering from the Sergeant Schultz disease, I see nothing, I hear nothing, I know nothing.

  7. funny ain’t it how top brass in the church, the government, the entertainment industry, the police, the health sector, transport, communications, insurance, business etc etc all seem to have that ‘co vid made me rich’ smile.


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