Oranga Tamariki's removal of babies 'dehumanising'

  • 19/05/2019

There's been calls for the CEO of Oranga Tamariki to stand down following a stand off between midwives and Oranga Tamariki, which tried to remove the newborn baby of a 19-year-old mother at Hawke's Bay Hospital.

The incident has brought simmering tensions to the fore between some social service providers and the agency charged with protecting our tamariki.

Oranga Tamariki has a difficult job balancing competing claims in stressful situations, but others are now expressing concerns about their treatment of whānau Māori..

Denise Messiter runs Te Whāriki Mana Wāhine o Hauraki, a social service provider that supports whānau in crisis. Many of the clients she sees are already involved with Oranga Tamariki.

She says the Hawke's Bay incident is just one example of what she believes is a heavy-handed approach.

She says the experience of whānau whose babies are removed can be "dehumanising".

However Oranga Tamariki's Glynis Sandland, DCE Services for Children and Families North, says "our statutory duty is to protect children and because of that, we are relentlessly focused on their safety and wellbeing".

"The way children come into the care of Oranga Tamariki is often misunderstood.

"In some situations, taking a child into care can be the only way to keep them safe.”

Watch The Hui's full interview with Denise Messiter.