Changes under Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 in effect from 1 July 2019

Sun 30 Jun 2019

A number of significant amendments to the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 (Children’s and Young People’s Well-being Act 1989) come into force on 1 July 2019.

Changes under Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 in effect from 1 July 2019

The amendments were passed under the Children, Young Persons, and Their Families (Oranga Tamariki) Legislation Act 2017, the Family Violence Act 2018 and the Oranga Tamariki Legislation Act 2019.

View the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 (Children’s and Young People’s Well-being Act 1989) online.

A small number of amendments took effect immediately however the majority come into force on 1 July 2019. Some of these are highlighted below.

Duties to recognise and commit to principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi

Under the new section 7AA of the Act, specific duties are imposed on the chief executive of Oranga Tamariki in order to "recognise and provide a practical commitment to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi (te Tiriti o Waitangi)." These include:

  • setting measurable outcomes for Māori children and young persons who come to the attention of the department
  • having regard to mana tamaiti (tamariki) and the whakapapa of Māori children and young persons and the whanaungatanga responsibilities of their whānau, hapū, and iwi (these kupu/terms are defined in section 2(1))
  • seeking to develop strategic partnerships with iwi and Māori organisations, including iwi authorities

Radio NZ reported it is the first time in New Zealand's history that Te Tiriti has been mentioned in legislation relating to children. For further commentary on these important changes, see the media list below and our related news story on Oranga Tamariki's uplift practices.

Purpose and principles

The legislation changes the purposes (section 4) and principles (section 5) of the Act.

Transitioning out of care

A new nationwide Transition Support Service will start on 1 July 2019, for young people leaving the care and youth justice system. Changes allow young people to remain or return to living with a caregiver until the age of 21, with transition support and advice available up to age 25.

Changes also extend the youth justice system to include most 17-year-olds. (Those charged with specified serious offences will be dealt with in the adult courts.)

Information sharing

See our separate News story on changes to information sharing (June 2019)

National Care Standards

See our story on the new national standards of care (July 2018) - the Care Standards come into effect on 1 July 2019.

Monitoring, systemic advocacy, complaints oversight and investigations

See our recent story, Government announces changes to oversight for children in care system (April 2019)

For important commentary on the changes, see the media list below.

Update: On 28 June 2019, in response to the significant recent public interest, Oranga Tamariki published a range of information and dataabout babies and children being taken into state care. For more information see the Oranga Tamariki - Ministry for Children OIA release: Babies and children entering Oranga Tamariki care.

Related news

The recent Hawke's Bay incident involved an attempt to remove a baby from his Māori mother at the hospital, sparking public outrage - see the story for calls for change to the Ministry for Children - Oranga Tamariki.

Related research

Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga has published Care and Protection of Tamariki Māori in the Family Court System (2019). Authors Tania Williams, Jacinta Ruru, Horiana Irwin-Easthope, Khylee Quince and Heather Gifford urges the government to give effect to long-standing Kaupapa Māori models for developing new legally-required evaluation measures aimed at reducing the disparities for Māori children and young people who come to the attention of Oranga Tamariki Ministry for Children. This is the first of a new series of think piece papers from Ngā Pae.

Other recent relevant research includes:

Boulton, A., Cvitanovic, L., Potaka-Osborne, G., & Williams Blyth, T. (2018). E Tipu E Rea: The care and protection of Indigenous (Māori) children. New Zealand Law Journal, 3, 3–6, 26. (See also conference presentation)

Related media

Strengthening oversight of the Oranga Tamariki system, MSD's Kotahitanga - General news, 01.10.2019

Access to Historic Information, Oranga Tamariki - Ministry for Children Press Release, 26.07.2019

Victim of abuse compromised by privacy leak, Newsroom, 23.07.2019

New law returns child to whānau in Oranga Tamariki dispute, RNZ, 22.07.2019

Questions raised about whether red flags missed before West Coast child's death, Stuff, 14.07.2019

NGOs struggle to retain social workers after Oranga Tamariki pay rise, Radio NZ, 10.07.2019

Closed adoption rears its ugly head again, Newsroom, 09.07.2019

Jacinda Ardern says significant changes on way for Oranga Tamariki, Radio NZ, 06.07.2019

Whānau ora better positioned for at risk children, Waatea News, 05.07.2019

Transformation of child services begins, Press Release: New Zealand Government, Scoop, 01.07.2019

Cloak of words or real change at Oranga Tamariki?, Waatea News, 01.07.2019

Oranga Tamariki shake-up: 'Nothing short of a revolution will do', RNZ, 01.07.2019

Gap between Māori and non-Māori youth arrests continues to grow, RNZ, 01.07.2019

Oranga Tamariki stats: Increase in Māori children taken, RNZ, 28.06.2019

Second Chance for a Revolutions, Press Release: Childrens's Commission, Scoop, 28.06.2019

Girl in hiding from Oranga Tamariki claims abuse in state care, RNZ, 28.06.2019

Oranga Tamariki accused of trying to 'wean' child off parents by slashing contact, RNZ, 27.06.2019

Parents claim Oranga Tamariki 'weaning' boy from mum, RNZ, 27.06.2019

Oranga Tamariki difficult to partner with - Iwi leaders, Radio NZ, 21.06.2019

Tania Williams-Blyth: Trauma kaupapa behind Hawkes Bay baby grab, Waatea News, 21.06.2019

Low confidence new Oranga Tamariki laws will help Māori, Radio NZ, 19.06.2019

Tina Ngata: Uplifting children is not a Māori problem. It’s a colonisation problem, The Spinoff, 19.06.2019

Aaron Smale: The Māori Problem, Newsroom, 19.06.2019

Oranga Tamariki - where to from here? Panel discussion, Marae, 17.06.2019

We need a new OT complaints agency, Newsroom, 16.06.2019

Demands for Oranga Tamariki name change, end to 'uplifting', 13.06.2019

Khylee Quince: Stop trampling the mana of children, Newsroom, 13.06.2019

Delays mean parents waiting months for Oranga Tamariki meetings, Stuff, 08.06.2019

Areta Koopu - Children better with whānau, Waatea News, 07.06.2019

Time to disrupt family law with Treaty of Waitangi, Waatea News, 07.06.2019
(Interview with Dr Jacinta Ruru and Associate Professor Khylee Quince)

Researchers call for kaupapa Māori approach to turn around poverty, Oranga Tamariki care disparities, NZ Herald, 05.06.2019

New Te Arotahi Series Launched, Press Release: Ngā Pae o te Maramatanga, 05.06.2019

Funding for youth leaving state care, Newsroom, 26.05.2019

Children’s Commissioner: NZ’s second chance for Māori, Newsroom, 2017, 20.11.2017

Image: Pixabay

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