Government announces new advisory group for Oranga Tamariki after boss resigns

Source: 1News

A new group is being set up to advise the Government around Oranga Tamariki, announced after embattled chief executive Gráinne Moss resigned last week.

Children's Minister Kelvin Davis says there are serious issues about Oranga Tamariki that need to be addressed.

"Given the nature of Oranga Tamariki’s work, public trust and confidence are crucial for it to meet its core responsibilities and serve those children, young people, whānau and communities it comes into contact with," he said today.

"Over time allegations, issues and concerns have been raised regarding Oranga Tamariki and its practice and culture; its lack of coordination with other NGOs; and its relationship with many Māori communities. 

"These issues are having a negative impact on the ability of the ministry to fulfil its role and it is important that they are addressed."

Matthew Tukaki, national executive of the New Zealand Māori Council and executive chairman of the National Māori Authority, Ngā Ngaru Rautahi O Aotearoa, will chair the Oranga Tamariki Ministerial Advisory Board, Davis says.

The other board members will be Dame Naida Glavish, who was recognised for her work with the health sector and Māori community; Sir Mark Solomon, who helped set up the Te Putahitanga O Te Waipounamu, Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency of the South Island; and Shannon Pakura, former chief social worker for the Department of Child, Youth and Family.

"Their combined expertise and experiences will be instrumental in ensuring that Oranga Tamariki supports people to be the best parents, to be a safe whānau and to provide the best possible care of our tamariki," Davis says.

"Oranga Tamariki needs to be focused on enhancing relationships with whānau and Māori; embedding professional social work practices; developing a positive culture; and starting to entrust funding and decision-making to Māori and to people on the ground in our regions.

"Outside of formal reporting and data, what is also needed is real time information about Oranga Tamariki and its progress, operations and performance, and certainty that its future direction is understood and becoming entrenched."

They're set to begin on February 1 with an initial report expected by June 30.

Moss resigned as chief executive of Oranga Tamariki last week after facing pressure over the agency's treatment of Māori.

Among those calling for her resignation were former Māori Party leader Dame Tariana Turia.