17 Jun 2019

Minister orders inquiry into Oranga Tamariki 'uplift' practice

6:01 am on 17 June 2019

An internal inquiry into the attempted removal of a six-day-old baby from its mother at Hawke's Bay Hospital by Oranga Tamariki last month has been announced.

Nanaia Mahuta, Tracey Martin, Ngahiwi Tomoana, and Kelvin Davis

Ministers Nanaia Mahuta and Tracey Martin, Ngāti Kahungunu chairman Ngahiwi Tomoana and minister Kelvin Davis. Photo: RNZ / Anusha Bradley

Last month the hospital was put into lockdown as social workers tried to take a newborn from its 19-year-old mother, sparking wider complaints about the organisation's practises.

Minister for Children Tracey Martin said she was very sorry to see those events and that everyone in the room that day was negatively impacted.

There would be an inquiry into Oranga Tamariki's process with this family, she said.

But the public will not know the full outcome of the inquiry into processes used by Oranga Tamariki in this particular case, in order to maintain the family's privacy, she said.

Ms Martin said out of the inquiry there will be some information which will be released to the specific family and the iwi, but not to the public.

Ms Martin and other ministers met with the Māori Council and Ngāti Kahungunu in Hastings this afternoon.

The inquiry will design "interventions" that will prevent further "uplifts" from happening in the future, Ngāti Kahungunu leader Ngahiwi Tomoana told media after the meeting.

"We are also pleased to work with Minister Martin and her ministry to look at improving methods of working with whānau right across the spectrum.

"We will invite whānau to come and tell their stories, which we will share with government agencies," Mr Tomoana said.

The Oranga Tamariki inquiry into the attempted removal of the baby from its mother in Hawke's Bay will be "led with the voice of whānau," Ms Martin said.

The person who will carry out the inquiry will be announced in the next few days, she said.

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