The intention of this review is to identify areas for change and recommendations to enable pēpi Māori to remain in the care of their whānau where Reports of Concern have been made to Oranga Tamariki. This report, shares insights gained from whānau of pēpi Māori to answer the question:
What needs to change to enable pēpi Māori aged 0-3 months to remain in the care of their whānau in situations where Oranga Tamariki is notified of care and protection concerns?
Areas for change include:
- The system needs to recognise the role of mums as te whare tangata and treat them and their pēpi with humanity.
- Unprofessional statutory social work practice is harming mums, whānau and pēpi.
- Whānau need the right support from the right people.
- Pēpi Māori and their whānau are experiencing racism and discrimination.
- The organisational culture of the statutory care and protection system needs to support parents and whānau to nurture and care for their pēpi.
- The system needs to work in partnership with whānau, hapū and iwi so they can exercise tino rangatiratanga.
This is the first report of a two-part series. The exploratory approach is designed to identify and pinpoint areas for change. These will be examined in more detail in part two where detailed recommendations will be made.
The authors explained that the name of this report is inspired by the experiences shared by the participants, which included fear, anger, frustration, heartbreak, anguish and sadness. A journey they suffered by the hand of the state. Forming part of the name of this report, Te Kuku O Te Manawa is a whakataukī, or Māori proverb, which has many interpretations. Two of these interpretations are ‘the pincers of the heart’ and ‘an object of great affection’. This name helped focus the authors on the importance of pēpi and tamariki in this process.