Last week in Pāpāmoa we opened Te Ākau, the new Oranga Tamariki building on the new Ngā Parirau site.
This beautiful building represents a change in the way Oranga Tamariki operate, moving forward in genuine partnership with iwi and hapū to support our tamariki. New manager Joel Ngatuere is humble, yet fiercely determined to deliver community driven, Māori-led, child-centred, trauma-informed social work practice.
This is a promising step forward for our vulnerable children and whānau. I look forward to the day that we no longer need such services, but until then I’m thankful for this future direction and the hard mahi that will transform lives.
To support this partnership and help rebuild trust, the government is reversing provisions in the Oranga Tamariki Act. Alongside a number of legislative changes, the partial repeal of the subsequent children provisions is one of the most important.
The subsequent children law came into play in 2016 and hasn’t been effective. It meant that families who have worked hard and made significant changes to themselves and their lives were still made to jump through hoops to prove they are worthy of being parents.
The repeal sets right this burden of evidence, so that Oranga Tamariki must prove that a child needs to be removed rather than the parent proving the child doesn’t need to be removed.
This is a milestone piece of work and I’m proud to be part of a government who is finally responding to the need for change.
Looking back on the year that’s been, we’ve achieved awesome results and crucial legislative changes - in too many areas to name! We’ve all been working hard on our pieces of the puzzle, while managing a health response to a global pandemic which insists on changing the game regularly.
It’s been a tough year! I’m looking forward to wrapping it up and enjoying summer in this stunning place we are so lucky to call home. A huge shout out to our amazing lifeguards, our very own local heroes. Please make their jobs easier by swimming between the flags. Stay safe, have fun!