Last month, we heard about the Maori teen mama who fought to keep her baby from being ripped away from her shortly after she gave birth. We heard that Oranga Tamariki had concerns and that her whānau were not allowed to be with her. We saw the social workers and the police attempt to enforce the court orders and we watched the scenario unfold with horror, shame, disgust and sorrow.
As the CEO of Thrive, a very very busy small service with limited funding, much of which comes from Oranga Tamariki, it is important to say a few things on this matter.
I can’t say that I have taken the time to read all the news articles or listened to, or watched the numerous interviews - I haven’t had the time to fairly look at the situation of the young mama in Hawkes Bay because there are many young mamas here in Tamaki Makaurau who sadly experience the same shocking, bewildering behaviour. Hence this in no way is an isolated incident. It simply isn’t. I’ve seen over the last few years a sharp increase in the number of babies being uplifted from teen parents, many of whom are Maori. Now that’s a hard fact that I have mentioned too many times to too many people including our local MPs and Cabinet members.
In saying that I have seen, we have seen some improvements at a local level from Oranga Tamariki since the bravey and courageous steps were taken by the young mama, her whānau and her midwives miles away from here.
We hope the necessary changes are made at Oranga Tamariki and that Maori teen parents, that all teen parents are fairly cared for and treated respectfully with compassion and love.