Duncan Garner: Māori must be given their own child welfare agency - run by Māori, for Māori

OPINION: I'm not sure the Waitangi Tribunal is the ideal place for Māori to get a ruling against the country's child welfare agency Oranga Tamariki.

But when you're desperate to be heard, it's worth a shot, right?

And I have sympathy for this group of urban Māori leaders who say Oranga Tamariki has utterly failed Māori families and children. They want a Māori Child Welfare Agency - for Māori, by Māori.

I get it. They don't trust the colonial power. I kind of understand what they want and why they might go there. 

They're there because of this injustice involved in the uplifting of babies that are predominantly Māori. 

This is traumatic and happens bedside in the moments after a baby is born - sometimes without warning.

But it's not just that practice Māori wants to see come to an end - it's also seeing that 70 percent of all children in state care are Māori.

Many graduate to prison and the state's ability to manage is poorly executed. Māori believe Māori must control their own destiny and given how poorly the state has run child welfare agencies, then I say we have nothing to lose.

I have seen up close and personal how utterly useless state agencies are at dealing with young Māori. The state can't love and, in many ways, contributes to the problem.

We are just making these young children bigger, angrier and more detached from society. 

Hell, we might even gain something by putting these young people into the hands of some kaumatua.

Maybe Māori can put their own role models in front of these young people - Māori might gain trust in a system they can recognise as their own.

At least in time they can stop blaming Pakeha but all this must end with Māori being given their own child welfare agency - run by Māori, for Māori. 

It's a Treaty partnership that is well overdue. This is nothing to fear - this is about handing over power.

Let's do it.

Duncan Garner hosts The AM Show