Kelvin Davis praises Oranga Tamariki while decrying latest murder


Fresh from praising the neoliberal welfare experiment Oranga Tamariki because Māori social services have picked up the contracts…

Oranga Tamariki change on track says Davis

The Minister for Children says he’s happy with progress at Oranga Tamariki.

The child protection agency has come under fire continuing to uplift pepe and tamariki, and for failing to spend all the money it was allocated for services for the victims of sexual violence.

Kelvin Davis says acting chief executive Chappie Te Kani has assured him that money will be spent by the end of the financial year.

- Sponsor Promotion -

And he says compared with five years ago when more than 1000 Māori children were uplifted, last year the total was 250, and iwi are increasingly helping when such uplifts are necessary.

…Kelvin is back to being critical in the wake of a murdered 5 year old…

Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis wants answers from Oranga Tamariki over murdered 5-year-old

Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis says he will “get to the bottom” of what could have prevented the murder of 5-year-old boy Malachi Subecz.

Subecz died in November 2021, following prolonged and horrific abuse at the hands of a woman appointed as his caregiver.

Michaela Barriball, 27, pleaded guilty to four charges related to his death at the High Court in Tauranga on Wednesday. The summary of facts state she had interim custody of Malachi, from June 2021, after his biological mother was imprisoned.

Davis, who is the minister responsible for Oranga Tamariki, said he wanted to know what involvement his ministry had in the boy’s life.

..questions that need to be asked of OT.

How did OT arrive at Michaela Barriball as the interim custodian?

A custodian who had proceeded to carry out prolonged and horrific abuse of the little boy and is now accused of murdering him.

How did OT arrive at this decision to place a vulnerable child in the care of an abusive murderer?


Increasingly having independent opinion in a mainstream media environment which mostly echo one another has become more important than ever, so if you value having an independent voice – please donate here.

If you can’t contribute but want to help, please always feel free to share our blogs on social media


  1. Same old story: If they uplift they’re evil racist oppressors. If they don’t uplift they’re failing Maori.

    When will we get a leader with the guts to say that Maori must put on their big boy pants and act like responsible adults?

    • ‘When will we get a leader with the guts to say that ‘Maori’ must put on their big boy pants and act like responsible adults?’ Well you might get your wish (Act) but to suggest that this troupe and many others hasn’t been opinionated and verbalized towards Maori in general ova the last ‘150 years’ by many groups including Maori individuals ‘Alan Duff, Elizabeth Rata, David Seymour..etc suggest to me that you’re not been paying attention and also could be that you have been socialized to see Maori as an enemy to your world view.

    • What? You mean like us non Maori?
      We non Maori invaded then fucked beautiful AO/NZ. Does that not count for anything?
      We non Maori with our ignorant, racist, greedy manipulations have a lot, if not everything, to answer for.

    • The Court would have received “advice” from OT “experts”. They have huge input into these matters.
      Sadly, most of it is not good input…

      • Reading the news reports, it was the boy’s mother that requested Barriball be the caregiver. Why? And did the Family Court do any research into Barriball’s suitability. Apparently there were family members who put their hands up to be the caregiver……

  2. Would Kelvin be demanding to get to the bottom of this if this was a brown baby with brown foster parents?

  3. The problem with people working in Oranga Tamariki is that they are people and people do dumb things and make dumb decisions.
    Well, they look at things from their own perspective, factoring in whatever else they need to and weighing things up as they see fit. In consultation with other people and rule books.

    The problem is that I am not in Oranga Tamariki dealing with each case specifically because I would do a better job than what is happening.

    The trouble with that is that I am too busy single handedly sorting out poverty and housing and education standards and shortage of workers and supermarket prices and hospital waiting lists and rail in Auckland and medical staff shortfall and mental health and gangs and the methamphetamine problem and judges. And the Crusaders rugby team.

  4. if you pay social workers shit, you get shit shit social workers…OT has become a career for the third rate but ‘box ticked’

  5. Makes you sick reading about this case.

    Not just OT but family court seems to have failed to protect and care for this child.

    Not sure how the mother/OT/family court could somehow give another person who was not even related to the child and lived in a dilapidated rental with on-off volatile boyfriend as the preferred caregiver when there were apparently other options available with the family who opposed it.

    Even foster care might have been better than this type of abusive friend’ – not sure why the Mother couldn’t look after the child themselves and why the courts did not give the child to other family members who applied for custody too.

    Why were the early child center concerns not pushed to OT to investigate.

    Sounds appalling and both the family court and OT should be examined to avoid this again.

    Not enough care with complex custody and abuse issues for children which seems to be increasing – not enough thought is put into having children in NZ – anything goes.

      • It was the Mother’s request that this woman care for the child – probably someone on their way to jail might not be the best referrer but apparently the courts went along with it, even though others who were relatives of the child were against the placement.

        Super sad, horrible case because it seems so preventative and was so prolonged and those that should have protected and supervised this placement obviously didn’t.

        • were the 2 women related, in a relationship, or mates…the news report doesn’t go into detail…but it does throw light on the court/OTs decisions

  6. What an awful litany of excuses. They’re paid professionals, with a legal obligation to be objective. And they much of their status and power, at times using it as an implied threat.

    As for poorly paid, that’d be the first I’ve heard of any government department paying their professionals poorly. I understand they go out of their way to salaries comparable to market rates.

    Indeed, considering the vast majority of social workers deal with poor people, with little to no demand from the upper echelons, I doubt that market rate would be subject to supply and demand in the first place.

    Their salary bands reflect their qualifications, not their ability. And consequences are zilch. If a mechanic took the same approach he could tried for negligence. But then again, he doesn’t have the get out of jail free card defense of “professional opinion”.

    Just as well for the motoring public.

Comments are closed.