Justice prevails: Oranga Tamariki’s offensive Critical Race Theory ‘Moana’ case thrown out by Court


Moana appeal dismissed: Young Māori girl can stay with Pākehā caregivers

A Pākehā couple who adopted a young Māori girl can continue to care for her after the High Court dismissed an appeal made by the girl’s mother, which was supported by Oranga Tamariki.

Justice Helen Cull delivered her decision on the ‘Moana’ case appeal on Wednesday after a hearing in the High Court at Wellington in August.

For four years, the girl, who is now 6 years old and has been called “Moana” in Stuff’s stories about the case, has been living with the couple in a safe, healthy, loving environment in rural Hawke’s Bay.

The girl had been traumatised and neglected before Oranga Tamariki placed her with the couple (the “Smiths”) in September 2018.

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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.

The reverse uplifts of Māori children from pakeha foster families however WAS NOT  Tikanga, it was woke critical race theory, the dogma of which declares no white family can give a brown child a good life.

Put aside the disturbing racism in that position and also consider the attempt to disrupt and influence an ongoing investigation into Oranga Tamariki by having other Judges privately trying to interfere with this case!

Oranga Tamariki went to such extraordinary measures to hide their behaviour and inappropriately influence this case because it was a test case for a whole bunch of reverse uplifts they had embarked upon.

It was an action to not only corrupt independent justice, but also to 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.

Let’s remind ourselves of the lies that the Social Worker used to justify psychologically harming a young Māori 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 at the point of uplifting that 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 was happening here.

In the ‘Moana’ 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 that 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.

To have this entire fiasco thrown out by the Court is a victory for due process, a victory against woke dogma and a victory for the little children who are just desperately needing someone to care and love for them.

I just believe the enormity of this case and the spiteful damage it exposed is one of the great under reported news stories of 2022.

The Labour Government will be thanking their stars that the wider electorate have no idea what was happening here, luckily for them, this news story challenged many of the pretensions of the woke journalist news rooms so they refused to cover the story in any depth.


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  1. I deeply wish the head judge of the Family Court and the chief District Court judge get disciplined for their grotesque attempt to intimidate Justice Callinicos who heard the case in Hawkes Bay and who was accused of bullying the social worker.

  2. The judge is to be praised for not being intimidated by OT and the barrage of criticism he face. My thoughts go out to the caring foster parents who have to work with the same OT official that was the supervisor of the 2 workers who denigrated the family in the first place.

  3. Justice has become scarce in NZ courts. Nice to see, finally some practicality!

    Lawyers in NZ have become addicted to delaying justice by filling up the courts systems with endless cases that drag on and on, and then being financially rewarded by getting more revenue for themselves by the delays of getting endless reports and other delays. That fills up the courts as justice has ground to a halt in NZ through delays and stopping swift justice for their victims.

    Nice to see a judge doing something about a senior lawyer who sends a junior to do his job being referred to the law society when the junior is unable to do the job.

    Judge’s frustration boils over delay in sentencing of Taranaki meth dealer

    While the law society seems to have become a bureaucratic lengthy process itself, it at least strikes fear in the hearts of lawyers in NZ so that hopefully they do better next time and organise the right level of skill, in a timely manner.

    Seem to remember it was the demise of Barry Hart who use to send juniors out at $1000 p/h and grossly overcharge clients.

    Disgraced lawyer Barry Hart loses bid to save career

    Lawyer overcharging while deliberately underdelivering is at epidemic proportions in NZ. Just have a look at some of the council and government lawyers premises to see how much cash is available in this never ending bucket of revenue.

  4. indeed the lower judges were clearly politically motivated rather than dispensing justice…they need to be sitting in a winz waiting area next week.
    personally red, green, purple, straight, gay, trans, white, maori or african couldn’t give a flying fuck…the ONLY CRITERIA is are they good parents….end of.

  5. And dont forget the senior Maori Head of School of Social Work at Otago saying at the time that there were many other cases like this which have never been out in the public domain.

    I hope Moana grows up to have a great life and that not being raised Te Ao Maori doesnt cause her ill health in later years.

    • Are you taking the piss about not having Te Ao Maori?

      Culture is the paradigm we are exposed to growing up. We learn and enbue our culture (it’s beliefs, values, practices).

      The only thing Moana was learning growing up with her biological mother was that she was utterly worthless due to the abuse and neglect she faced. Personally I think her mother had an absolute cheek contesting the judges decision, at what point does that women reflect on her own failure and feel some gratitude to Moana adopted parents.

      And if by some remote chance Moanas adoptive parents are reading this, I thank and salute you for the love and care you are providing for your little girl. And thank you for your persistence in your fight to keep Moana. The BS you had to put up with is unbelievable. Wishing you and Moana a happy and peaceful life going forward

  6. Social worker 1 unemployed yet? Can’t wait for Act to gut this venal disgrace of a government department.

  7. Behind the scenes things are even more pronounced. This incident has fractured the judiciary, the law society is ducking for cover and some lawyers have taken a remit demanding an international jurist be appointed to review the actions of all key players including the chief justice.

    • Thanks anonymous for letting us know.

      Hope there is major ush back about this outrage.

      Keep us updated if it is possible to do so

  8. Fostering is not easy. Pity these wonderful people have been put through hell to see commonsense and justice prevail.

  9. Great result for the child, that most agree that should have never come to this. However, this situation is pretty much inevitable when NZ continues to have particular entities that are designed only to separate us.

    How was the social worker supposed to think, when we have separate health boards, separate electorates, separate council wards and even separate ministries based on race?

    Racial differences are mandated from the very top of the executive, so why the surprise when the workers at the coal face don’t believe that this kind of identity politics is coming from a greater authority?

    This will come as controversial, but it starts with seperate ministries for racial and gender profiles, and manifests to where those that interpret these laws that day to day people should only integrate with their own. Like I said, you can’t blame the social worker. I would imagine that they’ve been indoctrinated into believing some peoples are different/special than others, or why else have a whole executive ministry for that exact purpose???

    The answer: Scrap all racial and gendered ministries. It starts there, and ends with a child being used as racial football. If the only concern was the need of the child none of this would have happened.

    Btw More women in parliament than ever, and an over-representation of Maori (per their national percentage) in parliament so why do we still need women and Maori ministries??

  10. OT: ‘her cultural needs are not being met’.
    Unfucking believable. Now the state dictates what your cultural needs are. Also, have those fraudulent case officers been fired yet? That would meet their cultural needs.

  11. Anker
    You are leaving a gap for some to slither through! Hope there is major ush back about this outrage.,/i>
    I think you want to say ‘push back’ but those involved will want it to read ‘hush back’. We will have to keep watch on these people who are deep-died humanity-deficient.

    The attitudes of Oranga Tamiriki remind me of those in the Australian film The Rabbit Proof Fence about the unconscionable way that Aboriginal women and children were treated by hard-faced white society there.
    What is the film Rabbit-Proof Fence about?
    Three mixed-race girls are torn brutally from their Aboriginal mother and sent over a thousand miles away to a training camp for domestic workers as part of a government policy to integrate them into white society. Linking the camp and their distant home territory is a vast rabbit-proof fence, which stretches from one coast to another and just might help the girls find their way back. (Based on a true story.)

    More info: Who started the Stolen Generation?
    The Stolen Generations refers to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who were removed from their families between 1910 and 1970. This was done by Australian federal and state government agencies and church missions, through a policy of assimilation.
    The Stolen Generations – Common Ground
    commonground.org.au ·
    https://www.commonground.org.au › …

    It’s not just that NZ’s are slow learners, it’s also that we are quick forgetters and are regressing along the path from upright bipeds back to chimpanzee-type knuckle-walking .

  12. Main thing is the kid will be well cared for now, especially as she does not have to move to creepy Wellington.

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