Indigenous | Oranga Tamariki

Iwi partnership aims to reduce cases of tamariki uplifts

A new partnership aims to give iwi more input when whānau need help, to help reduce the number of children removed from their families. Photo / Supplied / NZ Human Rights Commission

An East Coast iwi is partnering with the government to give iwi and local groups more say in decisions about uplifting children.

The move is part of a wider plan to make Oranga Tamariki more community-led, and aims to get iwi and local organisations more involved in interventions from the outset.

Te Ara Mātua is a partnership between the iwi Ngāti Kahungunu, Oranga Tamariki and local health advocacy group Te Tumu Whakahaere o Te Wero.

It aims to get iwi and local organisations more involved in decision making at the start when whānau require intervention.

Minister for Children Kelvin Davis said it was expected there could be a continued reduction in the number of children in care by using community relationships to intervene earlier and more effectively.

"Ngāti Kahungunu whānau know what's best for their mokopuna but they have not had the power and resources needed to make those crucial decisions and respond appropriately", Davis said.

"Te Ara Mātua changes this and sees the crown standing back and enabling communities."

A similar plan, launched in the Far North last year, saw child uplifts reduced by 73 percent, and 1600 fewer children in care compared to 2018, Davis said.