Breakfast host Jenny-May Clarkson teared up today after reading a viewer’s comment about Oranga Tamariki uplifting of Māori babies, asking why the country has gotten it so wrong by its young people for so long.
Earlier in the TVNZ1 show, midwife Jean Te Huia said Oranga Tamariki’s uplift practices, when they take babies from Māori mothers with little to no notice, was “inhumane”.
“There is institutional racism, there is bias, there is personal racism,” Te Huia said.
A viewer said in response: “I’ve been watching and listening regarding the horrifying stories of Māori baby uplifts with tears in my eyes.
“It breaks my heart for these babies, mothers and families … [It’s a] disgrace.
“Can you imagine giving birth to a baby only to have them taken off you?
“The mental and emotional stress on the mother at one of the most vulnerable times in her life is unimaginable, but also on that child.”
Clarkson, who is the mother of twin boys, said: “Thank you for your message … and saying what I couldn’t say after that interview”.
“How long do we have to talk about this? And how many re-inventions of that department do there need to be?” newsreader Indira Stewart said.
Clarkson said: “Why can’t we just do the right thing? Why isn’t our conscience enough?”
John Campbell pointed to a recently ridiculed comment by a Fox News host who said New Zealand’s managed isolation facilities were akin to "quarantine camps" and that the country is throwing away "personal freedom".
Campbell said while Kiwis have scoffed at the idea, “at the extreme of those polarities is two untruths”.
“Our sense of ourselves as an idealised, imperfect nation - lies. It’s a betrayal about what Jane Te Huia is telling us. It’s a betrayal about what’s happening to some of our children. It’s a betrayal of disadvantage.
“If we keep ignoring it and if we keep pretending that everything is sublime and perfect here, we’re doing a radical disservice to people at the bottom of that.”