June 22, 2023
Te Pāti Māori demands OT services devolved to Iwi
From Te Whare Paremata:
Co-Leader of Te Pāti Māori is demanding Oranga Tamariki services be devolved and placed in the hands of whānau, hapu, Iwi Māori.
The tono comes following allegations of “inappropriate sexual behaviour” against two staff members at OT.
At a press conference in Wellington Wednesday, Oranga Tamariki chief executive Chappie Te Kani said police were investigating, and the staff members at the centre of the raruraru had been removed from the youth justice residences.
Rawiri Waititi says the latest allegations shows an urgent need to transform the controversial organisation.
“What is shows is that the whole system of Oranga Tamariki is rotten to the core, absolutely rotten to the core and something needs to be done.”
“There needs to be transformation in this space, devolution of Oranga Tamariki should go to hāpu, iwi to look after their own mokopuna.” says Te Pāti Māori co-leader Rawiri Waititi.
According to OT CEO Chappie Te Kani five children have been subjected to sexual behaviour by staff working in youth justice and care and protection residences.
He said these were separate incidents, at two different residences within the last year.
OT has been plagued with controversy, even before the high profile resignation of the former CEO Grainne Moss in 2021. During her tenure she was responsible for presiding over a policy that removed vulnerable mostly tamariki Māori from their Māmā and put into state care.
In 2019, Rangatira including, Dames Naida Glavich, Tariana Turia, Tureiti Lady Moxon and the chair of the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency, Merepeka Raukawa-Tait, accused Oranga Tamariki of having a toxic culture and riding rough-shod over whānau – taking babies without any consideration for the devastating, intergenerational impacts.
As a consequence of the latest allegations, ex-police commissioner Mike Bush will take over management of OT youth residences. He will also lead a rapid review across all residences including Oranga Tamariki community-based homes. Mike Bush will be assisted by Shannon Pakura, former Chief Social Worker and currently a member of the Government Ministerial Advisory Board to the Minister for Children. The Bush review is expected to be completed in two months.