Oranga Tamariki 'smacks of racism' - Dame Tariana Turia

Oranga Tamariki chief executive Grainne Moss has rated her organisation seven to eight out of 10, despite 220 children being harmed in its care over six months in 2018.

An overhaul of Child, Youth and Family two years ago promised a far-reaching system change, which would reduce disparities for Māori, form aspirational iwi partnerships and focus on raising Māori success. 

Instead, the number of tamariki Māori in the care of Oranga Tamariki has risen while the number of non-Māori has stayed the same, and in the past six months an investigation has found 220 vulnerable children - the majority of which are Māori - have been harmed in the care of the organisation, tasked and funded to protect them.

Moss and Māori services manager Frana Chase admit the organisation has significant work to do, but has still "made progress" and is "making a difference".

However Dame Tariana Turia, the former Minister for Whānau Ora, strongly disagrees, saying "the number of children being abused in care doesn't warrant a seven" and rating them three out of 10.

She also criticised the organisation for advertising children on Trade Me, saying the practice - which has now been stopped - "smacks of racism".

Auckland University social work lecturer Dr Ian Hyslop agreed, saying "the abuse of children in care is unacceptable" and the overall the outcomes are "certainly racist".

Watch the video -the panel featuring Dame Tariana Turia begins at the 12-minute mark.

The Hui