Identity Politics vs NZ Law Society in Oranga Tamariki abuse of Judicial Sovereignty case

Heteronormative white cis male monster Geoffrey Palmer

Just when you couldn’t believe the jaw-droppingly racist ‘Moana’ Oranga Tamariki case could get any worse.

It did…

Law Society urged to take concerns over judges’ actions to Attorney-General

A report written by legal luminaries including Sir Geoffrey Palmer, several QCs and various law professors recommended the NZ Law Society urge the Chief Justice and Attorney-General to address concerns raised in the “Moana” case.

But the Law Society made no such urging, and that has not gone down well with some of its members, including the Wellington branch.

Palmer and the others are members of the Law Society’s “Rule of Law Committee”, and late last year they considered a potential rule of law issue involving alleged inappropriate judicial conduct.

The conduct in question involved Family Court Judge Peter Callinicos being contacted by Chief District Court Judge Heemi Taumaunu and Principal Family Court Judge Jackie Moran in relation to the part-heard “Moana” case.

…where the Christ does one even begin with this alarming insight into how our State Agencies are abusing people for the wokest of justifications!

TDB Recommends

To fully appreciate the clusterfuck this has become, let me remind you all why you should be outraged with this ‘Moana’ case.

The entire Labour Party Cabinet should be on their knees thanking God that the looming economic meltdown is distracting the attention of almost every Kiwi because if we weren’t so distracted, the genuine anger at what is happening inside Oranga Tamariki would be an all encompassing furnace of outrage.

The enormity of the late Sir Wira Gardiner’s extraordinary overreach by contacting two judges and attempting to intervene in an ongoing trial, ostensibly for grilling a Social Worker too harshly, is just so gasp inducing in its audacity that it steps over the line to become unacceptable.

I have called for a very long time for Māori providers to take over Oranga Tamariki because I believe Tikanga values are far more healing and beneficial to all vulnerable children than the hollow costed values of our neoliberal welfare system that sees clients of their services as opposed to children in need.

However, what is happening here in Oranga Tamariki IS NOT tikanga, it is woke critical race theory the dogma of which declares no white family can give a brown child a good life.

By attempting to disrupt and influence an ongoing investigation into Oranga Tamariki taking back Māori children from a white family when that testimony is so egregiously damming of Oranga Tamariki, is an attempt to not only corrupt independent justice, but also hide the appallingly racist behaviour of a State agency using the most extreme powers a State has, that of uplifting children from parents and step-parents.

If your position is attempting to shut down a trial because too many truths and facts are coming out, isn’t that a tad on you?

Let’s remind ourselves of the lies, so many lies that the Social Worker used to justify psychologically harming a young Maori girl because you know, the heteronormative white cis male patriarchy…

There were some early signs, however, that the social worker might be out of her depth. The review filed in November 2018 said Moana had a close relationship with her grandfather. It transpired her grandfather had died five months earlier.

And while Social Worker 1 was filing these glowing reports, she was telling others in her office that the Smiths were stripping Moana of her Māori identity. She said she felt “incessantly undermined” by the Smiths and said the couple “attempted to sabotage whānau access” for Moana.

She pointed to the Smith’s “disregard for Te Ao Māori” (the Māori world view), and said they were incapable of providing Moana with the “cultural aspects” she needed.

The Smiths had no idea these conversations were taking place.

When she was asked in court why she didn’t include these concerns in her reviews, Social Worker 1 said she did but was told to remove them by her supervisor. (The supervisor would later deny this under oath, and said any changes he made were only grammatical).

Among the social worker’s concerns was an allegation that the Smiths had asked Moana’s daycare centre to refer to her by her nickname (an abbreviation of her name). This was “an attempt to remove her from her identity”, she said.

Social Worker 1 said the Smiths raised issues about Moana’s behaviour following access visits with her birth mother, and she saw this as the Smiths “making up issues to try and get reasons to have no contact”.

Another allegation concerned an access visit with Moana’s birth mother. Social Worker 1 claimed Mrs Smith pulled Moana away from hugging her birth mother and “proceeded to wipe her down with a cloth in what looked like an attempt to remove any germs”. She did not ask Mrs Smith what she was doing, but passed her concerns on to other Oranga Tamariki staff.

(Mrs Smith would later say Moana and her birth mother were not embracing each other, and she had used a wet wipe to clean Vegemite from Moana’s hands).

Separately, the Smiths held their own concerns about the social worker, and in May 2019 they complained to her supervisor.

A few weeks later the Smiths were informed that there were concerns around their attendance at access visits and the couple would need to undergo a cultural assessment. The couple were surprised about this and asked why it was required and what it involved.

Oranga Tamariki staff told the Smiths it was very rare – some had never been involved in one – and they were unable to provide any detail on the process or guidelines of such an assessment.

A meeting was held in late June 2019 in which the Smiths were told that Oranga Tamariki was concerned about their ability to provide for Moana’s cultural needs. The supervisor told the Smiths the cultural assessment would acknowledge “the good work you are already doing to promote [Moana’s] cultural identity”, and would hopefully provide some detail around Moana’s whakapapa.

When the Smiths asked why other Pākehā caregivers with Māori children were not subject to the same assessments, the supervisor responded that it was a good question, and all he could say was that there had been issues around access.

The supervisor couldn’t provide any brochures or pamphlets for the Smiths to inform them of what a cultural assessment involved. (The supervisor would later give evidence saying he felt the Smiths may have been directing “unconscious racism” towards Social Worker 1).

The Smiths believed the assessment was a ruse being used by the Ministry as a way to find them unsuitable and to have Moana removed from their care. They refused to take part.

…deceitful tricks and race accusations with no resources provided to enable the white step-family to help the little girls cultural growth…

The assessment was conducted by an independent cultural expert. His original task had been to assess the Smiths’ understanding of Te Ao Maori and their ability to provide Moana’s cultural needs, but that changed when the Smiths said they would not take part in the assessment, and he ended up looking solely at Moana.

His report was provided to Oranga Tamariki on September 11, 2019. It included scant information on Moana’s whakapapa, other than noting she had a distant relation in Taranaki.

The assessor, later giving evidence in court, would say a Māori child growing up in a non-Maori family would “not have the same opportunity in terms of inculcation of values,” he said.

He said it would be “extremely challenging” for a non-Māori family to raise a Māori child in the correct cultural manner, and failing to provide for cultural needs could result in a child’s health being compromised later in life. He said the decision on where Moana should be placed should lie with Ngāti Kahungunu.

…The ‘assessor’ uses critical race theory to deduce that this child will do worse with white parents, which seems an extremely limited view to judge this case on!

Look, if Oranga Tamariki can find whanau to place a Māori child with at the point of uplifting a child – all fine and dandy.

The recent involvement of Iwi stepping in to be that whanau resource at the point of uplift is a great development but that’s not what’s happened here.

In this case, as with many others, the Māori child has been placed with a white family for years and told they are staying with that white family permanently, to rip a child from the bandages of emotional healing and sense of security for some dogmatic implementation of woke critical race theory is the kind of zealotry that burns books!

The Judge didn’t bully this testimony out of Oranga Tamariki, and even if he did, what has been exposed is so damning that it justified bullying.

To attempt to intervene in the sacrosanctness of our independent judiciary so racist practices by Oranga Tamariki can be hidden is so disbelievingly outside the norms of our system it’s almost a Donald Trump level molestation of due process.

This case mattered because it’s a test case for a whole bunch of these reverse uplifts by Oranga Tamariki. In another case, Oranga Tamariki have gagged Newsroom and other media covering the case of 4 Māori children who were placed with a white step-family for 4 years and told it was a ‘forever home’. The white step parents sold their home and bought a bigger house so the kids could have their own rooms only to have the exact same woke critical race theory ban them from having the 4 children despite being told they were.

If dogma is trumping the actual welfare of children, we have entered a quasi religious belief system as social policy stage and the Identity Politics Left have to be taken harshly to task for such egregious conclusions!

How former Law Society president Tiana Epati came to the conclusion that a damning report written by Sir Geoffrey Palmer, several QCs and various law professors didn’t add anything to a debate where Oranga Tamariki were intervening in a Judge because his questioning of an OT staff member was devastating for a test case they were building is a tad beyond me.

This case just keeps highlighting very questionable woke dogma that is forever critiquing the world through an identity lens.

Why bother platforming Sir Geoffrey Palmer, several QCs and various law professors when they probably represent Heteronormative white cis male privilege?

That’s pretty much where we are now philosophically in this country.

A tribal allegiance to our skin colour, gender and orientation above any common ground or shared values whatsoever is who we are now, none of which helps the welfare of that little girl who has gotten caught up in an insane ideological tug of war between state departments trying o throw their weight around!


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. The Chief Ombudsman and his independent reviewer were absolutely scathing of OT’s actions in this case.

    There is always a tension in Child Protection services – going back forever – between making sure the child is safe and well cared for physically – and the desire of parents (and sometimes their family) to remain the caregiver. Cultural identity and connection has added extra nastiness and vitriol to the debate. And the degree of legal oversight has a big impact.

    Policy, legislation and practice constantly shifts in response to the prevailing ideology and the angst of society at high profile cases.

  2. Certain Senior Civil Servants, and their supporters, seriously believe they are above the law…this is a great example…As for the various so called ‘checks and balances’, i.e. various law societies doing their job, forget it…they are career climbers.

      • That has probably something to do with the PSA. Jobs for members for union fees with Robo’s support.

    • Nathan – It’s worse than that, it’s officers of the court thinking that they are above the law, ie. judges trying to interfere in other judges’ cases with disregard to due process. And if, as it seems, their purpose was to protect a witness or witnesses, then immediately the whole outcome of a case is skewed. The interests of the child/children legally and morally over-ride the interests of witnesses or associated bureaucrats, and those judges know that.

      Tiana Epati, a lawyer then head of the Law Society, apparently over-riding the recommendations of Geoffrey Palmer and a team of legal experts much more qualified and experienced, and intelligent than she is, isn’t just appalling, but once again, it loses sight of the heart of the matter, which is children, and their well-being. It’s dreadful, but that’s how New Zealand is about our beautiful children, negligent and barbaric.

      Martyn’s last paragraph re tribalism sums it up neatly, but is possibly a bit understated if put into a context of Maori hankering for a separate legal system or a separate system of justice.

        • Nathan, Yes it is dangerous isn’t it. Personally I regard it as corruption, insofar as there seem to have been attempts made to corrupt the legal processes. Geoffrey Palmer is one of our top, and one of our first, Public Law lawyers; there’s nothing in it for him or his distinguished colleagues career-wise or money-wise, apart from their own obligation to uphold the Rule of Law where they see it being transgressed. The Law Society’s dismissal of them is gob-smacking.

  3. Super scary stuff.

    A divided NZ with separate medical, and social welfare system do not work!!!!

    Remember the Maori party over decades has never got much more than 30% of the the Maori party votes.

    The Maori party only speaks for a minority of Maori voices but those voices along with the woke green and neoliberal turned woke Labourites are making it worse for Maori children going forward by their ideological race based separation theories on services instead of focusing on better services for all and getting rid of global neoliberalism which is contributing to increased NZ poverty.

    Comment from yesterday, Corey Humm

    “As someone whose had to deal with the corruption that is whanau ora and nearly lost a loved one to bad medical care from whanau ora I don’t want a seperate health board run by the same Ngati trickle down neoliberals to compliment the white neoliberals in the main health system, I want the one we have fixed so it works for all people regardless of class, poor people slip through the cracks and die early because being poor is a death sentence, but instead we focus on symptoms not root causes. I don’t want neoliberal identity politics I want Keynesian economic policies that make life easier for the best.

    I don’t want ministry of transport spending more on consultants than projects and I don’t want more bureaucrats made up departments, middle management and identity based neoliberalism.

    I don’t want a govt that treats me differently because I’m Ngati Mutunga or because I’m gay.

    In fact the left make me ashamed to be gay because I’m unwillingly associated with maniac identitarian policies and get shamed for not being a “queer activist” when all I want is to live a normal life and takeaways at home. Being gay is not important to me but the left think it’s all there is to me.”

    Alternate Maori voices against separatism are not allowed to be heard.

    Elizabeth Rata: The Decolonisation of Education in New Zealand

    In fact the woke elite try to shame/mislead other voices by creating their version of colonialism run by themselves to benefit themselves.

    Woke lynch mobs have already been ruled against for misleading public statements.

    Media Council upholds professors’ complaint

    Sadly some pretty smart people seemed to have followed the separatist kool aid while not looking at how their policies are clearly not working for who they supposedly intended it for.

  4. Thanks to TDB for this article because it is likely to be dismissed and buried by our MSM and other media who don’t have principles, or should I say, are beholden to pc type ideology over and above plain humanity.

  5. Thanks Martyn for all you do to highlight what is happening in NZ.

    I have always considered myself left wing. But the left has been totally captured by ideologies such as CRT and gender ideology. If it wasn’t for the serious impact this was having on peoples lives, the proponents of such ideologies would be providing us with so much hilarity.

    The case of Moana is deeply disturbing. Culture of course is the set of beliefs, values and rituals that we practice and we internalised growing up. The family culture of the smiths sounds far more conducive to enhancing child development. Certainly more than her birth family (her mother I understand has had all her children removed)

    • Anker The bogey here seems to be the first, or possibly both “ social workers”, not just being incompetent, but being deeply flawed, possibly genuinely believing in an intrinsic badness in pakeha – there’s a person blogging here who seems like that – MP Kelvin Davis does too.

      The paranoid interpretation about the wiping off of vegemite is similar behaviour to a local confrontational woman who I gather is schizophrenic but avoid eye contact with after being challenged contemplating the price of fish. Both lots of the foster parents here seem to be providing the lovely caring nurturing sorts of families which any children are fortunate to be part of, and which some of us only dreamed of. At the time all this initially surfaced, I did wonder if the politics of envy were at play here with the sw’s stuffing things up for the little kiddies. OT itself, may have had too many patch up jobs to be able to sustain itself sensibly or coherently.

    • Anker, I am very similar to you. I’ve come around to decide I’m no longer Left-wing, maybe centrist now, and I will not vote Labour or Greens with a barge-poll.

      What I find interesting is despite Martyn excellently crucifying the humourless, new woke tribalist Left (exemplified by the current Labour & Green Parties) and highlighting the pathetic development of equality, housing, etc by Labour and Greens, he bangs on that it would apocalypse to have National/Act in power.

      Really? I think Labour is doing a superb job at destroying NZ already. National/Act are not going to be the greatest, but far less worse than a third term Labour steamrolling in its arrogance and undemocratic woke soft Authoritarianism.

      I would rather we have National/Act take pruning to the bloated Public sector and stop the worst excesses of identity politics ideology and separatism. Like all National led coalition Governments, they’re unlikely to be able to do that much. And with a good dose of defeat and humility they need, Labour and Greens can then do some actual helpful Left wing politics for the next election. A third term of Labour and Greens would be the worst possible thing.

  6. Quote: “it would be “extremely challenging” for a non-Māori family to raise a Māori child in the correct cultural manner, and failing to provide for cultural needs could result in a child’s health being compromised later in life. He said the decision on where Moana should be placed should lie with Ngāti Kahungunu.”

    Weaponising the woo-woo I call it.

    • can anyone define ‘correct cultural manner’
      itemised list please
      not wooly ‘mission statement’ style generalisations

    • YOu would think that physical safety and a loving home environment would be right up at the top of ANY child’s cultural needs, wouldn’t you?

      Apparently not in Te Ao Gardner.

  7. for me the issue is ‘aristocracy’ in theory (though not in practise in NZ) social democracy is govt help distributed according to need, in tribal systems it’s distribution according to status/connections/birth….pretty much the old british aristocratic system so tribal systems literally mirror ‘colonial systems’ we all oppose.

  8. Quote: “it would be “extremely challenging” for a non-Māori family to raise a Māori child in the correct cultural manner, and failing to provide for cultural needs could result in a child’s health being compromised later in life. He said the decision on where Moana should be placed should lie with Ngāti Kahungunu.”

    What has never been made clear is why the Maori mother had her daughter removed in the first place? And was she bringing her daughter up in a gang mob? And whether Ngati Kahungunu had done anything to help the girl in the first instance?

  9. Good article Martyn.

    But, bearing in mind you are one of the few brave voices on the left standing up against the all-consuming id-pol and critical theory-based tsunami taking over NZ politics, media, education etc: where exactly did you think this constant demonizing of anything European/pakeha would end up?

    It was obvious that this is where it was headed. With the momentum the separatist crazies have built up over the past few years, I can’t see this stopping anytime soon (let alone being rolled back to somewhere more sensible) without civil unrest or worse.

    • Can someone tell me why this OT thing is not being shut down? Why do we need it when it is patently such a continental fuck up? Logical explanation please.

        • Ok that explains it Yuri. Hey, as long as we single-handedly save the planet from climate change, the rest doesn’t matter. NZ will be a the basket case that saved the planet…NOT!

          • don’t try to be clever with me cabbage, you asked a question, you got an answer, if you don’t like the answer changing the subject doesn’t make you less of a fuckwad it just underlines the fact.

  10. “That’s pretty much where we are now philosophically in this country.”

    Absolutely true Martyn, brings to mind what recently happened with Karl du Fresne.
    He can be a bit black and white at times but he recently gave a very rational speech at Vic on Free Speech for the FSU. He was then crucified in Salient by various Wokesters who not only hadnt attended but I think also hadnt even read his speech.

    The usual racisim, trans ? ism, misogeny spouted forth. Further attempts at trying to get the venues closed and to shame people into not attending. His speech and the FSU were branded as Haters and white supremacists etc by idiots too lazy to even read what he said. And these are the people who will lead our country and economy in future. Jesus Wept!

    • Fantail. Poor Karl. His whanau have also made interesting contributions to our literary and historical heritage, but – I feel like a traitor here – Vic students may know little of any of this. Du Fresne is a man of his own time, and brave to venture forth as such. The Vic students are the ones who cheered Saint Chloe Swarbrick when she trashed the boomer – dreadful word – generation saying that experience doesn’t count, sanctifying the callowness and naivety and ignorance and hubris of the young which hasn’t really resulted in any great contributions to the political arena in recent times. They chop down, that’s all.

  11. I’ve never seen TDB voices so in tune with each other about protecting this child and the legal system from the ideological legal woke who seem to be throwing out the basics of law in these OT cases.

    • Savenz. Agree. I’m with James here as far as Labour and the Greens are concerned, and have dumped both. I’ve never voted National. Martyn has long been addressing the identity politics of the left, especially of the Greens, their social destructiveness, and I think their deliberative divisiveness and intolerance. Kelvin Davis’s recently revealed antagonism towards a huge segment of the populace, Pakeha, is actually half-baked and I think renders him unfit to be in a position of political leadership.

      Our terrible child murder and abuse stats speak for themselves, and these tragic children’s cases being used as bureaucratic or idealogical footballs are a disgrace, as are the machinations of some of the parties involved. If Mr White Patriarchy, Geoffrey Palmer, can get something done about it, he’ll be one who earned his knighthood. I hope he can. I never liked him very much. I wish him well.

      • YouTuber Zuby makes a good point that identity politics / critical social justice – whatever nomenclature you have for authoritarianism “progressivism” – that it is more destructive and insidious because it preys on our compassion.

        Most reasonable people want others to feel welcome, are interested in different cultures, care about child poverty, equality, human rights etc. Identity/woke politics exploits that compassion into a hideous beast of snarling judgment, conformity, ostracicism, and anxiety. And this is even before we consider democratic and social institutions degradation (Royal Society, Universities, etc).

        I often think – do we feel better off now with our woke cultural revolution? Hell no, we feel stressed, judged, unable to openly express, and ever more divided. Our natural sympathy for our fellow man is weakened, and we become hurt, selfish, defensive, and withdrawn. Even those who embrace identity politics seem angrier and more shrill than ever, forever excavating the social landscape for some item to nihilate on. I use that as a verb because ultimately, it’s an extremely nihilistic ideology that destroys without real creation.

        I’m very pessimistic for NZ’s future, but I do know a third Labour/Greens Goverment would be the worst possible outcome.

  12. You need to read the article on just put up – of which two paragraphs are posted below. Particularly galling that OT are witholding from the courts….

    Exclusive: Inquiries are underway after young children at the centre of a pivotal ‘reverse uplift’ case by Oranga Tamariki ended up being sent to live at a property where at least one man with sexual behaviour issues was living.Newsroom investigations have now uncovered that Oranga Tamariki social workers knew about the man living at the property and the concerns about his highly sexualised behaviour when they moved the tamariki to the whānau placement.

    To make the transfer from their long term foster carers to the extended whānau placement Oranga Tamariki needed a Family Court order – however this critical information about the man’s background was withheld from the court by Oranga Tamariki staff involved.

    • Thomas. Shocking. The OT staff involved should face criminal charges, but apart from that, one can only weep for those poor children uprooted from a nurturing foster home, and placed at risk, seemingly for the sake of an ideology. Once again the children are the victims, but it seems to me that where judges have tried to intervene in other judges’ cases, it doesn’t appear to me to be on behalf of the children concerned, but more on behalf of OT staff, making them the ‘victims’ needing protection -or similar – from the court. I wonder where the Children’s Commissioner stands on this, but she’s probably constricted where cases are subject to ongoing legal proceedings.

      Withholding information from the Family Court could be construed as perjury by omission – I wouldn’t hesitate to argue that it is. It’s very serious.

  13. Martyn
    For the benefit of an ignoramus like me (and any other)…tell us why this OT thing should not be shut down when it is patently such a fuck up? Clearly it’s a waste of precious taxpayer money with a bloated and incompetent bureaucracy.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.