Ngāi Tahu signs MOU with Oranga Tamariki - Ministry for Children

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Te Rūnanga ō Ngāi Tahu and Oranga Tamariki - Ministry for Children have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work together when Ngāi Tahu children are involved with Oranga Tamariki.

This is the first iwi to sign a strategic partnership with Oranga Tamariki under the child protection legislation reforms from 2017.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Chief Executive Arihia Bennett said:

“Today’s signing records and formalises our shared values and strong commitment to build on the good work we have already done together. It will ensure appropriate engagement with mana whenua throughout Te Waipounamu and outcomes for all Ngāi Tahu tamariki and rangatahi no matter where they live. ... I’m confident this is just the start of what is possible, and I look forward to more shared successes as a result of this strategic partnership.”

For more information, listen to an interview with Arihia Bennett on Waatea News.

The Oranga Tamariki September newsletter announced that Grant Bennett (Ngāi Tahu) is the new Chief Social Worker/Director of Professional Practice. The previous Chief Social Worker was Paul Nixon.

Māori Television has also reported that a 'cultural standards resource tool' is to be launched by Oranga Tamariki:

"The resource has been designed to help generate a more meaningful understanding of the commitment Oranga Tamariki have to tamariki Māori and the importance of whakapapa and whanaungatanga. It includes links to educational tools on cultural competence, te reo, waiata, pēpeha and expectations of Oranga Tamariki under Section 7aa of the Oranga Tamariki Act."

Earlier in 2018, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between government departments including Oranga Tamariki and Te Waiāriki Iwi, Ngāti Tūwharetoa focused on growth and achievement for whānau and tamariki Māori. A new Kaupapa Māori Transition whare was also launched, with further whare to be established in other regions. The whare are grounded in the practice framework principles and acknowledge holistic supports for tamariki.

The former Child, Youth and Family services had previously signed Memorandum of Understandings with Te Rūnanga Ā Iwi O Ngāpuhi (2012) and Ngāti Kahungunu (2014).

Related news

In 2017, te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu came together with Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu, Te Puna Oranga, Te Whare Hauora, He Waka Tapu and Te Rūnanga o Ngā Maata Waka, four kaupapa Māori providers in the Christchurch family violence sector, to establish a new initiative, Tū Pono: Te Mana Kaha o te Whānau. This followed a challenge from former Ngāi Tahu kaiwhakahaere (leader) Sir Mark Solomon, who stepped down in 2016. He took a stand on sexual abuse after convictions and allegations in the comunity.

See our past stories on other initiatives involving iwi:

Iwi launch or involved in initiatives to address family and whānau violence

Ministry and iwi work on initiatives for children, young people and whānau

The Government is currently inviting feedback to inform development of the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy. Feedback and submissions can be submitted until 5 December 2018.

For other 2018 news on child protection, see our previous story Cabinet paper and consultation on independent oversight of child care and protection system (May 2018).

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'We are really interested in stepping up', Radio NZ, 13.11.2018

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State of Care report from the Children's Commissioner, Press Release: Office of the Children's Commissioner, Scoop, 01.10.2018

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