July 11, 2023
Whakapapa connection trounces Oranga Tamariki lock-ups
A large Māori social service provider says there are alternatives for youth offenders rather than locking them up in Oranga Tamariki facilities.
Ngapuhi Iwi Social Services chief executive Moana Eruera says it’s looking to expand its successful Mahuru programme.
Mahuru includes one-to-one placement with Ngāpuhi kaimanaaki who can provide a safe home for taitamariki for up to six weeks while they are on remand.
There is also a Tikanga-Māori day programme where they are supervised by experienced mentors to achieve goals within their individual plans.
Dr Eruera says most of the taitamariki has been in the care and protection system and need healing, and they also have some growing up to do.
“We really believe that whakapapa approaches to healing work, that that whakapapa connection is an enduring relationship, it’s not a one-off thing where ‘we’ll put you here for a year and then you’re out again,’ it’s an enduring relationship for their lives so if we can connect them to two or three safe, whakapapa-connected whanau, we’re happy,” she says.
Dr Eruera says while the Mahuru programme is resource intensive, it’s far cheaper than Oranga Tamariki residences.