Māori midwife helps hide baby at marae to avoid uplift

By Te Ao - Māori News

A Māori midwife who took a claim to the Waitangi Tribunal over the uplifting of Māori babies by Oranga Tamariki is fighting another potential baby removal by authorities.

Jean Te Huia is staging a sit-in with whānau members at a marae in protest of a Family Court order to put a baby in the care of a distant relative. She says the issue is yet another sign the system needs to be overhauled.

She says the baby is in the right care until they go back to court next month to settle the dispute. 

Te Huia, of Ngāti Kahungunu descent, says she understands the police will not storm the marae. "For the first time in five nights this whānau slept peacefully."

A call to iwi leaders and whānau has led to the whānau housing a single mother aged 17 years old with her nine-month-old baby at the marae.

Te Huia says the law works against parents in this situation, "which does not recognise the rights of children, does not recognise the rights of whānau and takes the word of a stranger."

A distant aunty went to the Family Court to get an order to put the baby in her care. 

"This comes about because the government sees our children as a commodity. Our children have been commodified."

The case will be heard on September 6.