Iwi-Oranga Tamariki agreement to ensure ‘culture of care’.
A new agreement between Tuhoe and Oranga Tamariki aims to stop Maori children ending up on a “never-ending treadmill of state care”.
Tuhoe iwi and the Ministry for Children, Oranga Tamariki, will be “working on the ground together” to “share responsibilities” after signing a relationship agreement last night in Taneatua.
Oranga Tamariki chief executive Grainne Moss, Minister for Maori-Crown Relations Kelvin Davis and Children’s Minister Tracey Martin attended the signing, which was followed by a dinner hosted by Tuhoe.
Ms Martin said she was delighted about the agreement.
”The best place that children can be raised is at home, with family and whanau, and this agreement will help that to happen for Tuhoe tamariki.”
“Every child deserves to be loved and safe and the more we can get early help to families the better we’ll do,” Ms Martin said.
Under the agreement, Oranga Tamariki will deal with all those who are identified as Tuhoe through its Whakatane office, in the iwi’s rohe.
The single-page document also sees the Ministry commit to informing the iwi when Tuhoe children come to its attention and keeping the iwi informed about matters related to whanau.
“Oranga Tamariki know which children are at risk,” Te Uru Taumatua chair Tamati Kruger said.
“Tuhoe’s knowledge of whakapapa and our families means that we can provide insights into wider whanau and hapu connections than a state agency could be expected to be aware of, and find safe and loving homes connected to our children.”
Tuhoe would develop new models of care, built on tikanga Maori, to support vulnerable children, move them out of state care and reunite them, safely, with their whanau.
“With Oranga Tamariki we can see the struggle in the home, neither of us want a never-ending treadmill of state care and it scares us greatly to think that our tamariki could grow up without knowing unconditional love,” Mr Kruger said.
“A culture, any culture, is just culture of care for one another. Our greatest threat is a loss of care. The answer is to put care back at the centre of our approach. This partnership is the first step.”
This is the fourth such arrangement between the Ministry for Children and iwi in the past year, following similar partnerships with Waikato-Tainui, Ngai Tahu and Ngapuhi.