Oranga Tamariki & the art of waving dead brown babies in our face


When Stuff did their mea culpa to the way they had covered Maori as a clickbait, one way they covered dead Maori babies was noted. Despite waaaaaaaay more Pakeha babies dying at the hands of white parents, Stuff (and many other mainstream media) would amplify the dead brown babies and give graphic details of the deprivation they suffered where as white parents who killed were given empathy and sympathy.

It is to this turid time, 2007 to 2015 that we need to look at to understand why Oranga Tamariki is the basket case it is, and it’s to do with the art of waving dead brown babies in our faces and how easily we all capitulated.

Two things happened between 2007 and 2015 which built the blue print for Oranga Tamariki.

The first was a public outrage campaign run by the Sensible Sentencing Lynch Mob and their right wing mouthpieces who repeatedly used the deaths of brown babies and all the accompanying damage of their lives as an immediate reason for something to be done.

(I still laugh thinking about Jeremy Wells turning up at a Christine Rankin silent vigil in 2007 while Wells was on the opposite side of the road screaming into a cell phone that he couldn’t hear the silent vigil.)

Despite more white parents killing their kids, the babies waved in our faces had to be brown to get the right level of white anger to give the State extraordinary powers.

While the campaign of denigration played out, Bill English’s new experiment in welfare saw an opportunity.

His big data investment model argued that if CYFS uplifted children early it would save the State money downstream and using big data would make this more efficient.

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Let’s be very clear, the mutation that Oranga Tamariki mutated into has at its heart the welfare of the State, NOT the vulnerable child. This is and has always been a cost saving measure and if you don’t understand that you don’t understand the problem.

In 2015 Anne Tolley held up damaging statistics showing hundreds of kids abused by the State and concluded there was more chance of a child being hurt in State care than left in the community!

Rather than use these shocking stats to demand more funding, Tolley renamed CYFs for the 18th time into an organization called Oranga Tamariki and using all those dead brown babies as the justification, removed parental legal powers, dumped the research units that found Maori homes, streamlined the 0800 numbers into immediate investigation units using little more than rumour and removed accused parents of gaining legal aid to defend charges.

This was all done to maximise the big data investment model, removing children from damaged families at birth was where the financial pay off was so National weaponised uplifts.

Oranga Tamariki was always a neoliberal welfare experiment using manufactured white outrage at dead brown babies to manifest an Agency drunk on its own power.

It wasn’t until Newsroom exposed what Oranga Tamariki was doing that it started to unravel. Suddenly having Political masters who cared about this threw OT into a panic and created a knee jerk critical race theory response where OT stopped uplifting Maori babies and started taking Maori kids off white step parents they had already placed.

Until Bill English’s funding model is dismantled, until we start funding this directly and appropriately, we will continue to fail these children in a land of plenty.

You all allowed the media’s shaking of dead brown babies in our faces to justify something must be done and never bothered to check the thing National did.

The horror of Oranga Tamariki is all on you and your ease to be manipulated.


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  1. Like we had any say in the matter. Let’s all get out there and change the housing crisis, the education system, the Illness system. Let’s all do something about corruption and useless governments and useless elected ministers.
    When you read the comments on TDB do you not feel the frustration oozing out. Voting is not enough.
    Today’s challenge for the blogger, what should we have done? Really?
    I would like an answer too please.

  2. I generally agree with you Martyn but I am kind of wondering where this statement came from – “Despite waaaaaaaay more Pakeha babies dying at the hands of white parents,”.

    I agree that there was iittle reporting of pakeha child abuse during this period but is the above statement really true? Or is it a case that there were higher numbers of Pakeha with kids than Maori because of the disparity between being up to 87% other with at that time about 13%? of Maori. Today the numbers in care are predominantly Maori AFAIK and you are saying that this is because of bias and flawed government policies and you may well be right. Or it may partly be that now there are more Maori youngsters relative to white youngsters.

    You are corrrect about the communal horror we all felt over Nia Glassie and the Kahui twins and how that may have created a backlash particularly from a National government. The conspiracy of silence over the Kahui twins especially generated a strong feeling of frustration that their were those in Maoridom that just werent ever going to be held accountable for their actions. So it did a lot of damage. The media didnt help but the lack of justice for those babies still rankles today.

    Appointing Paula Rebstock as Chair to the Cyfs review (which ended up recommending the uplift of children at birth) was always likely to have a Neo Liberal bent. She is an economist, and right of centre and a very practical person who would have looked for a solution that would keep the children the most safe in a operationally effective way. If we are looking to lay blame, it may be in the Terms of Reference of the enquiry, possibly the Review was told that the Safety of the Child was its paramount concern and in this respect, uplifts at birth are the most safe thing that can be done.

    So I guess what I am saying is, that this whole CYFs debacle has complex roots and that no government of over the last 20 years, seems to have found a way to make it work optimally for kids. Maybe the new iteration will succeed were others failed but I wouldnt hold my breath. As long as there are people who abuse their kids, OT will always be the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff as well as a political football.

  3. Can someone explain to me the logic why any baby that needs foster care, ABSOLUTELY HAS TO BE in care with its particular (maori/non-maori) race? The baby sure as shit doesn’t care for any race. It just wants love and good care forever, yes? Isn’t that the idea? Maori/pakeha…it’s all New Zealand yes? I don’t get all this complicated crap.

  4. Your dead wrong Martyn regarding your Statement that there are way more Babies dying at the hands of White parents than Maori? 90% of the Children uplifted are Maori! How to I know this? Because my Sister is a Case Manager/Social Worker at Oranga Tamariki! And the horror stories she has told me concerning some of these lousy, good for nothing & rotten, mostly Maori Parents, would turn your hair grey? Oranga Tamariki has been unfairly demonised by the Media & a woke Maori minority who want to take over the running of this organisation, it would be like putting the Fox in charge of the Henhouse? The questions are never asked with the main one being, why are Maori bashing the shit out of their kids & leaving it up to the NZ Taxpayer to pick up the pieces & fund their child abusing, hopeless, murderous parenting? My Sister has gone to Child uplifts because they have been ordered by a Court to remove vulnerable children from a dangerous environment & place them, preferably with their extended Family! And in every case, these self serving extended Families have to be paid thousands by Oranga Tamariki, on a Weekly basis, just to look after there own damn Family members! It’s disgusting? My personal opinion would be to remove all funding & cut off this grift on the Taxpayers & force Maori to take care of their own bloody kids? Oh & for your information, I’m Maori, but I don’t expect anyone to do my parenting for me or expect the NZ Taxpayer to pay for scumbag, bludging, child abusing Parents who beat up on their kids & Spouses!

      • It wasn’t a Maori that just killed her three kids in Timaru Peter it was white South African women who has immediately been shown a lot of sympathy and referred to a mental health facility.

        • Covid is pa…….this is because when women kill their children the vast majority of them either have psychotic depression or psychosis.

          There are cases of men who are found not guilty by reason of insanity. It s an old established law.

        • You’re hitting beneath the belt there, Michelle. I doubt you know a thing about the circumstances of the tragic Timaru family, not a damn thing, but as usual you just can’t help turning it into a race issue. That’s not ok.

    • KiwiAntz. I have heard similar stuff

      I get that stuff reported Maori abuse victims differently.

      But it is a big claim to say waaaaay more Pakeha are abused. Needs good evidence. Very sadly homicide is an indisputable statistic.

    • Honestly to suggest that this question has never been asked is a complete nonsense.
      ‘why are Maori bashing the shit out of their kids & leaving it up to the NZ Taxpayer to pick up the pieces & fund their child abusing, hopeless, murderous parenting?’

      You show you bias well and truly. Maori as we all surely know are second class citizens in the land of Aotearoa that was stolen from them by the British.

      PTSD is a recognised factor in this.

      When we have a government that says:
      ‘everyone who is on the dole shall have a job to enable them to live with dignity by having a decent working income to house feed and clothe their family. There will be no family needing to live with 16 other people in a house.’

      There are jobs for everyone, the level of unemployment keeps business happy, a large pool of people who will work for next to nothing. And if they won’t we will bring in cheap labour from the Pacific Islands.

      Then and only then will the rates of child abuse and domestic violence diminish dramatically.
      Then and only then will be prison population dramatically decrease.
      Then and only then will there be fewer solo parents.
      Then and only then will kids flourish in their schooling.

      Please please read the Spirit Level, it sets it all and stop listening to your sister I doubt she knows everything.

  5. MB.
    When you say “you”, to whom are you referring?!!? Just sounds like another psychotic rant. You obviously have issues busting out through any channel you can lay your hands on. I suggest iou seek help.

  6. MB.
    When you say “you”, to whom are you referring?!!? Just sounds like another psychotic rant. You obviously have issues busting out through any channel you can lay your hands on. I suggest you seek help.


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