Ngā Pou Whakaaro | Whānau Listening Posts open in Māori Inquiry into Oranga Tamariki

Tue 17 Sep 2019

The Māori-led Inquiry into Oranga Tamariki - Ministry for Children is now accepting feedback through Ngā Pou Whakaaro, or Whānau Listening Posts. Submissions are open until 31 October 2019.

Ngā Pou Whakaaro are designed to provide a safe and private space for whānau to share their experience in relation to Oranga Tamariki. The purpose of Ngā Pou Whakaaro is to:

  • "Raise awareness with whānau about the Inquiry purpose and scope
  • Engage and facilitate whānau opportunities to share lived experiences with Oranga Tamariki
  • Manage the dissemination and collation of information."

Whānau can provide feedback through:

Whānau can also contact their local Whānau Ora partner to share their story kanohi te kanohi (face to face). Whānau will be supported to make their submissions online, by email or to talk to the Inquiry team.

The submission guidelines also state the Inquiry team will work with Whānau Ora partners and other community groups to identify opportunities to host hui where whānau can make a submission in person - for further information about hui email

The Inquiry includes historical and contemporary removal of tamariki from their whānau by Oranga Tamariki and its predecessors (including Children, Young People and Families Service and the Department of Social Welfare).

Whānau can choose to share their story anonymously. The focus of the Inquiry is on the experiences of whānau. However the Inquiry is also prepared to hear voices, stories and viewpoints from any other interested parties. Ngā Pou Whakaaro are not able to intervene in individual cases or provide crisis counselling.

In announcing the plans to move ahead with Ngā Pou Whakaaro, Merepeka Raukawa-Tait, Chair of Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency said:

“This will be a groundbreaking and reflective framework, pulled together under guidance of our Patron, Sir Mason Durie. We’re going out into the regions through our partner network in the communities to listen because they live, breathe and know their whānau the best." 

See additional commentary in the media stories below.

Background information

The North Island Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency is leading the Māori-led Inquiry into the Ministry of Children - Oranga Tamariki. This followed widespread calls for change to Oranga Tamariki uplift practices after Newsroom reported the attempted uplift of a Māori newborn baby at Hawke's Bay Hospital.

Hui were held in July and August 2019 to establish the Māori-led Inquiry. See the Terms of Reference for more information.

Related news

Victoria University of Wellington has organised a seminar series examining the historical, current, and future role of the State around families' and children's involvement in the child welfare system. The first seminar took place on 9 August 2019 and looked at patterns of contact with the child protection system, including socioeconomic inequalities and the overrepresentation of Māori and children in poverty. Power point slides and the audio recording are available.

The second seminar is taking place on 20 September 2019 and will look at the current state climate and the impact of recent policy changes including the integration of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and children’s rights into the what is now the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 (Children’s and Young People’s Well-being Act 1989).

Related media

Parents at centre of Oranga Tamariki child uplift won't take part in government review, RNZ, 29.10.2019

Oranga Tamariki uplift inquiry harrowing for listeners, Waatea News, 22.10.2019

Māori Women's Welfare League says government failing Māori, RNZ, 03.10.2019

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

No change to child welfare without everyone on board, Newsroom, 25.09.2019

Employment action taken against Oranga Tamariki residential staff after grievances upheld, Stuff, 24.09.2019

Scope of review into Oranga Tamariki care and protection, Press Release: Office of the Children's Commissioner, Scoop, 18.09.2019

Baby uplifts continue despite increased scrutiny, Waatea News, 09.09.2019

Baby uplifts: Distressing new videos emerge showing newborns being uplifted, NZ Herald, 06.09.2019

Two people arrested as Oranga Tamariki take baby, RNZ, 06.09.2019

Two arrested during uplift of baby by Oranga Tamariki at Auckland City Hospital, Stuff, 06.09.2019

New uplift figures paint disturbing ‘racialised’ picture, Newsroom, 27.08.2019

Inquiry seeks alternative child protection system, Waatea News, 21.08.2019

Back to the Future (Again), Re-Imagining Social Work in Aotearoa New Zealand Blog, 20.08.2019

Māori families 'feel as if they don't rate', hui on Oranga Tamariki inquiry hears, RNZ, 20.08.2019

Whānau Ora under threat from Oranga Tamariki revamp, Waatea News, 20.08.2019

Māori leaders launch inquiry into tamariki being taken from their whānau, Stuff, 19.08.2019 

Image: Joshua Ness on Unsplash

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