Ngāti Raukawa rejects the Crown’s proposed Vulnerable Children’s legislation
At a gathering today of forty people at Te Wānanga o Raukawa, Ōtaki, eight Māori organisations presented strong concerns
about the proposed amendments to the Oranga Tamariki Bill to Minister for Children, Hon. Anne Tolley.
Amongst the line-up were hui organisers Dame Hon Tariana Turia and Professor Whatarangi Winiata followed by
presentations by Dame Iritana Tawhiwhirangi (National Kōhanga Trust), Dr Wally Penetito, Tā Taihākurei Durie (Chair of the Raukawa District Māori Council) and Children’s Commissioner, Judge Andrew Becroft as well as representatives of hapū, iwi and the iwi’s largest
provider, Raukawa Whānau Ora. The gathering was not persuaded by Minister Tolley’s kōrero about ‘getting better outcomes
for tamariki’ in the Ministry for Vulnerable Children.
After the hui, those gathered were vehemently opposed to the Minister’s presentation.
“We reject the Minister’s presentation and the thinking behind it” said Professor Winiata. “We believe that children are
born to whānau, hapū and iwi and that no child should be cast astray from the whakapapa (genealogical framework) that
gave them life."
Hui participants identified the need to mobilise the people, their children and families; ensuring children are placed
within the bosom of their extended whānau; and recognising that a child is not just born to its parents, but to a
whānau, hapū and iwi.
In summing up the hui, Emeritus Professor Dr Wally Penetito stated that after decades of engagement in these types of
hui where the Crown is prescribing ‘new’ policy for Māori, “the outcome of today was so predictable that I had written the hui summary the night before!”
Those present were adamant in their rejection of the view that a person without any whakapapa links to a child can be
entrusted with the care of that child who has been removed from their immediate family by the State.
Over the last two months, Ngāti Raukawa has hosted two major hui to discuss the Bill. Combined, these hui have recorded
over 200 attendances. Ngāti Raukawa does not support the proposed Bill in its current form as it moves away from the
findings of Puao-Te-Ata-Tu (1988) and the intentions of the 1989 Act in terms of protections for the children and
families of the tangata whenua. The Iwi believes that since the recommendations of Puao Te Ata Tu, the Whānau Ora
movement has significantly altered health and social service delivery and outcomes for tamariki Māori, rangatahi, whānau
and hapū. Their recommendation is that Whānau Ora entities are best placed to support whānau/hapū and iwi to exercise
their tino rangatiratanga in determining wellbeing decisions for tamariki Māori. Ngāti Raukawa will be presenting to the
Social Services Select Committee onMonday 20 March at 11.30am.