Oranga Tamariki Māori deputy chief quits

By Whatitiri Te Wake

The top Maori executive in Oranga Tamariki has resigned to take another public service job.

That news was made public late this afternoon by chief executive Grainne Moss after she gave more evidence at the urgent Waitangi Tribunal Hearings into Oranga Tamariki.

Lambert took up his post as deputy chief executive voices of children in 2017. Lambert is known for his work fostering relationships between the troubled department and Iwi.

Lady Tūreiti Moxon is a claimant in the tribunal hearing on Oranga Tamariki on behalf of the National Māori Urban Authority. She, together with Dame Areta Koopu and Dame Tariana Turia, shared their concerns on his departure.

“Given that her 2IC Māori has just resigned, that's going to be a big gap in that top line,” Lady Moxon said.

Under fire

Māori leaders, including Dame Naida Glavish, Dame Iritana Tawhiwhirangi, Lady Tureiti Moxon and Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency chair Merepeka Raukawa-Tait have been critical of the way the welfare department has dealt with Māori children and families under Moss' leadership. 

Moss, however, has said she won’t be resigning and that she has the confidence of her team.

Dame Tāriana Turia today reflected on the tribunal hearing and was critical of Moss. Asked about the way Moss answered questions in the tribunal hearing, she said: "She's creative and quite cunning. I don't think she's really answering the questions at all, and giving the impression that she's on top of her game when she talks about her staff, and the way in which staff are dealing with issues makes her sound like she's managing and controlling what's going on in the department." 

Moss confirmed that Lambert will take up a new role at the Department of Internal affairs.

More to come ...