Māori unite in hui today to discuss inquiry into Oranga Tamariki

By Jessica Tyson

Māori leaders from across Aotearoa are set to pour into Māngere, Auckland today to attend a hui to discuss the inquiry into Oranga Tamariki and the practices of state removal of children.

Whānau, experts and highly skilled Māori will attend the hui at the Holiday Inn near Auckland Airport to help identify the purpose of the inquiry, says Labour MP Willie Jackson.

“This force by the state requires a by Māori for Māori response. When Māori babies are six times more likely to be uplifted than any other babies it is imperative that Te Ao Māori come up with solutions, Jackson said in a statement.

“Of course, common sense tells us that sometimes intervention must happen particularly if our babies are under threat, but this surely must be the last option after all other avenues have been checked out.”

Jackson says those attending will include Dame Iritana Tawhiwhirangi, Dame Naida Glavish, Dame June Mariu, Dame Tariana Turia, Sir Mason Durie, Sir Wira Gardener, John Tamihere as well as community groups and government representatives.

Whānau Ora commissioning chair Merepeka Raukawa­ Tait says the response in people wanting to attend has been overwhelming.

“We’ve had to move the venue in an attempt to accommodate the numbers, and still, we are struggling with the huge ground­swell within Māoridom ­such is the depth of feeling and desire for change.

“We have Māori providers lining up to meet the needs of whānau in a culturally appropriate way that values whānau and works to support them to realise their best potential. We know the system needs to change. We know Māori organisations supporting whānau appropriately to Māori culture need adequate resourcing, but today we are all here to work together toward solutions.”

The hui will be live­streamed through the Te Ao Māori News Facebook pagewww.whanauora.nz, www.numa.co.nz and www.waipareira.com.