30 Apr 2024

Mata Season 2 | Episode 7: Tauranga Moana marks 160 years of struggle, the repeal of 7AA, and the Iwi Chairs forum

From Mata with Mihingarangi Forbes , 5:00 pm on 30 April 2024

We speak to Ngāti Pukenga representative Rahera Ohia about the iwi's Waitangi Tribunal claim over the repeal of section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act, and then panelists Charlie Rahiri and Koro Nicholas discuss what's on the agenda at the upcoming National Iwi Chairs Forum and the 160-year commemoration for the Battle of Pukehinahina.

Rahera Ohia, Koro Nicholas, Charlie Rahiri

Mata Season 2: Episode 7 guests- Rahera Ohia, Koro Nicholas, Charlie Rahiri Photo: Samuel Robinson

Under 7AA, Ngā Pōtiki, Ngāti Pukenga, Waitaha, and Ngai Te Rangi created Te Whakaruruhau at the Ngā Parirau site for Oranga Tamariki in Papamoa, Ngāti Pukenga representative Rahera Ohia said.

"The thing that we really wanted to influence was the practice that they use at that site, particularly in relation to tamariki Māori, but also tamariki more generally.

"Because it's based on the idea that if you bring people's communities in to support them and to help them to guide them, to provide them with advice, then the results for them will be better than they would otherwise have been."

She said it had led to a drop in tamariki ending up in state care.

Ohia said the repeal of the section cast doubt on support for the organisation.

"The repeal of 7AA is creating a sense that the value of heritage and identity is being diminished, and if that's the case, since the early '80s, it's been clear that heritage and identity are critical to success if you're dedicated to improving outcomes for Māori, whether they be health or social outcomes."

The Waitangi Tribunal summoned the Minister for Children, Karen Chhour, to appear before it and explain why she intended to repeal a section of the Oranga Tamariki Act.

Ohia expected Chhour to appear, but she did not.

"On the other hand, the evidence that was presented, notwithstanding that she wasn't there, is damning," Ohia said.

"We all have views about whether or not the practices of Oranga Tamariki have worked or not, but the evidence suggests in the case of Māori, it definitely hasn't. So without the assurance of 7AA, I don't know how we move forward."

She questioned if Māori could rely on Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka.

"The only interest I have is whether or not Tama has our back."

Ngāti Ranginui chair Charlie Rahiri said more than 60 iwi leaders were expected to attend the National Iwi Chairs Forum from 1-3 May in Tauranga.

"Some of the hot-potato items obviously are the fast-track legislation, Oranga Tamariki, what's happening in the public sector with Māori-facing roles, and how our people are feeling at the moment.

"It's vitally important that we continue to occupy that space. As we know, colonial amnesia precedes their erasure which can only recover memory by the sheer force of those who never forget. And we must implant that within our people.

"I think it's time to show leadership. Yes, resilience, but also a little bit of whakataukī - about resistance and defiance as well."

Ngāti Hangarau chair Koro Nicholas said there would never be full kotahitanga – instead, it was a vision to work towards.

"It's a noble goal that we should all pursue and Tauranga Moana has been doing that since the institution of the Kiingitanga. So it's something that we can work towards as a motu – Māori and Pākehā."

He said government ministers had been invited, and some said they would attend.

Te Māngai Pāho

Te Māngai Pāho Photo: Te Māngai Pāho

NZ On Air

NZ On Air Photo: NZOA