Power of Oranga Tamariki needs to be taken from state, handed to Māori - Children's Commissioner

The Children's Commissioner is calling for Oranga Tamariki to be rebuilt in order to ensure better outcomes for Māori.

A new report on the state of the Government agency was released on Monday and Andrew Becroft says it's beyond salvaging.

"It is unlikely that Oranga Tamariki or any other iteration of it, can deliver care and protection interventions in a way that will be most effective for tamariki and whānau Māori."

He says there is no point restructuring the system or doing any more reports or reviews as "tinkering" with the agency has failed tamariki.

"Our call and the key recommendation is for a total transformation of the system."

To do this, resources, responsibilities and power would be transferred from the hands of the state and into "appropriate" Māori entities as determined by Māori.

The report is the second into how Oranga Tamariki is impacting the lives of Māori, commissioned after a Newsroom report into a controversial attempted uplift in Hawke's Bay thrust the agency into the spotlight.

It has made four recommendations to improve Māori outcomes, including that Oranga Tamariki immediately change its social work policy to stop harm from occurring to children currently in the care system.

The report also calls for a change to the contracting process and increased funding for iwi and Māori organisations to deliver better services.

The final recommendation is for Oranga Tamariki to improve its legislation and mechanisms of the current system to work better with Māori

"These all can and should commence immediately," reads the report.

Oranga Tamariki chief executive Grainne Moss has acknowledged the report, saying it's "useful" to see the issues identified were similar to those found in previous reviews.

"All New Zealanders want the same thing," she said.

"We want to ensure that tamariki Māori are safe and well cared for."

She says the recommendations will be considered alongside the findings of a Waitangi Tribunal urgent inquiry - which is set to continue in Wellington this week.

Moss said the main recommendation - that the Government transfer power into the hands of Māori - is not her decision.

"We will be looking to guidance from the Waitangi Tribunal and direction from Ministers before commenting further on the vision expressed in Te Kuku o Te Manawa."

But Māori want change now, as the processes have been reviewed for years with little change. 

Māori Council Executive Director Matthew Tukaki says he's "over reports".

"We all know what needs to be done and in terms of Māori children and Māori babies it's very clear… the system is inherently broken." 

Tukaki told The AM Show that some children will always be removed into state care, as their home life is unsafe but the way this is done needs to change.

"Be under no illusion there are children who were taken into state care where the process could have been managed better, family and whanau could have been engaged quicker and faster."

He says while this report hasn't revealed anything he didn't know already he will wait for the Waitangi Tribunal to release its report into Oranga Tamariki next year.

"That's the big inquiry I'm waiting for."