TODAY |

New Children's Minister Kelvin Davis promises shift in power within Oranga Tamariki

Newly appointed Children's Minister Kelvin Davis is admitting issues in Oranga Tamariki and promising "there will be changes".

Your playlist will load after this ad

However, Kelvin Davis wouldn't be drawn on how he feels about the organisation's chief executive, Gráinne Moss. Source: Breakfast

This morning on TVNZ1's Breakfast, Davis said there would be a transfer of power and resources in the state organisation to Māori, however he wouldn't be drawn on how he feels about its chief executive Gráinne Moss.

There has been calls for Moss to resign, and yesterday Children's Commissioner Andrew Becroft called for an urgent and significant transformation of Oranga Tamariki.

It's the commission's second part of the report, Te Kuku O Te Manawa, into the care and protection of Māori babies — and it has a raft of recommendations for Government and state agencies.

The first part of the report, released in June, detailed the experiences of Māori mothers of newborns involved with Oranga Tamariki. It said the child welfare system was dangerous, brutal and racist.

The second part, released yesterday, focuses on a range of recommendations of how to transform the system for Māori.

"Oranga Tamariki needs to admit where they've got things wrong and the changes that need to be made, and I think partnership with Māori is definitely one of those changes that needs to happen," Davis said.

"Essentially, what we have now is a very Euro-centric paradigm and what we need to do is move towards a Māori way of working. And we've got a great example in Whānau Ora at the moment, and I think there needs to be greater collaboration between Whānau Ora and Oranga Tamariki.

"There is certainly elements of the system that has been racist. We just need to look at the outcomes for our tamariki Māori and Māori in general, so that's what the changes will do, is to address those."

However, when asked if he has confidence in Moss to implement the necessary changes, Davis said "we're just getting to know each other".

"My expectation is that they will work extremely hard to implement any changes and the new direction so that it is a success, but we do have to move from what is essentially a Euro-centric paradigm way of doing things now to a Māori way of doing things," he added.

Davis said he was "looking forward to a positive and constructive working relationship" with the leadership of Oranga Tamariki.