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LINDSAY MITCHELL: Cultural fixation is a crock

The public service’s dogged determination to impose Te Tiriti o Waitangi obligations across the sector results in the absurd and incongruous.


According to Oranga Tamariki, formerly Child, Youth and Family:


Oranga Tamariki is currently introducing a new practice approach (completion 2024) that is framed by Te Tiriti o Waitangi, based on a mana enhancing paradigm for practice, and draws on Te Ao Māori Principles of oranga and transpires into a practice that is relational, inclusive, and restorative which is good for all tamariki, children, whānau, and families.[i]


It sounds rather like the ‘Maori way or the highway.’ In 2021 Te Pati Maori, supported by Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis, insisted that OT adopt a ‘by Maori, for Maori’ approach.


Children in OT care are now put into “four high-level categories”: Maori, Pacific, Maori/Pacific, and lastly, as an after-thought almost, NZ European and other.


But the definitions have become even more indistinct.


Just published, a survey of children and young people in state care contains the following table which illustrates my point:




Children in the care of OT are now categorised as either Maori, Pacific, Maori and Pacific or non-etc.


Cultural identity is ‘paramount’ apparently ... but if you are Asian or Indian or NZ European ... yeah ... nah. You are just non-Maori or non-Pacific. The details of your lineage are of no account. In truth the only cultural identity of interest is Polynesian and OT struggles to disguise this.


How does the “bi-cultural practice” advocated in OT’s ‘Maori Cultural Framework’ serve, for example, a refugee child? When I asked OT which two cultures the framework catered to, the answer was inconclusive:


Under the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989, the Chief Executive of Oranga Tamariki must ensure, wherever possible, that all policies adopted by the department, and all services provided by the department, recognise the social, economic, and cultural values of all cultural and ethnic groups; and have particular regard for the values, culture, and beliefs of Māori.


I can only interpret that as Maori and other. Whatever happened to multi-culturalism?

Oddly though, in this ‘by Maori, for Maori’ organisation, in April 2023 only 28 percent of staff were Maori. Nearly three quarters weren’t.


And here’s another irony. Of those who answered all the questions in the survey referred to, “99% answered in English only, none answered in Māori only, and less than 1% answered in both English and Māori.”


Staff are predominantly NZ European, and the language used by staff and their clients is predominantly English.


Oranga Tamariki’s crucial role is to ensure the safety and security of children. All and any at-risk children. Yet the survey itself showed “little overall improvement in tamariki and rangatahi experiences.”


Their fixation with culture is a crock.


[i] OIA response to L Mitchell 21 June 2023



Lindsay Mitchell blogs here

3,251 views108 comments

108 Comments


basilwnz
basilwnz
Aug 20, 2023

As if we need another example, the NZH reported on an Otara man sentenced for the killing of his 5 month old son, Clarity Turu.

Another wee name on that Wall of Shame.

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basilwnz
basilwnz
Aug 20, 2023
Replying to

I know, it is a serious problem (but not unique) in Maori culture. Clearly there are people of any persuasion who shouldn't have children, or even be allowed near them. Shame we don't have any kind of parenting test. The media in these situations is strangely weak.

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This approach is wrong on so many levels. Firstly, all our babies are precious and deserve the very best of care regardless of ethnicity. End of. Caregivers must be trained properly and should be paid well. There needs to be accountability in this as well and regular checks on carers and children by people who actually know what they are about.

The other point I want to make is that our parents who are at risk, for whatever reason must get support prior to children being harmed. It is our parenting that is at fault here in the first place. Support from conception to age 5 years needs to be focused and robust, and non negotiable.

Then there is the…

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justise xtra
justise xtra
Aug 18, 2023
Replying to

We need to stay on track with all our parenting before the maori words came in.

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justise xtra
justise xtra
Aug 18, 2023

Never mind all that they are using my Grandparents names left right and whatever directions and now they are going to send me my mothers birth certificate to Wairoa when I am in Wellington as a clone of Rahui Te Kiri Brown is now Rina Rahui Te Kiri Brown. Rahui Te Kiri Brown was a Chieftain of Great Barrier and my mother was her Great Grand Daughter and now Department Internal Affairs would rather change my mothers name Rahui to Rahuia which I am trying to get the death certificate from Melbourne where she died and it won't match up and D.I.A after letting these fools into the Department and changing my immediate families names except mine because I a…

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Rusling Mcgehan
Rusling Mcgehan
Aug 17, 2023

If this wonderful Maori way of life is so great then get on with it, you have been given a massive amount of money, land and resources back in compensation don' let all non Maori stand in your way.

I want to see you build your Utopia on your whenua and we won't charge you for using taxpayer roads and infrastucture. You can take all the non Maori products and technology that the world designed and made for everyone to use. But, for whuck sake stop the constant whinging and asking for more money and help. You tell us you have the answers and can fix your problems so impress the rest of us by your actions.

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justise xtra
justise xtra
Aug 18, 2023
Replying to

How did they get their lands back when they ostracised me. They are using my Danish Grand mothers Estate to ransom. I have no way of seeing outside where I am.


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Aaron Shanahan
Aaron Shanahan
Aug 17, 2023

This is a ministry of the crown that is responsible for the well-being of every child in new Zealand . Yet, this a ministry that deems fit to deny love, support and guidance to the most precious gift we have in our lives based on race alone.

If a child is in danger, if a child is neglected and subject to daily abuse, mental or physical, then surely for the love of god the best thing to do is to place that child in a stable, loving and caring environment and make sure that child, troubled and distressed as they will be , feel like they're really cared about, and not simply a benefit ticket.

Don't get me wrong. Plent…


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basilwnz
basilwnz
Aug 18, 2023
Replying to

Great commentary Aaron. This sentence stands out for me, as no one (in their right minds at least) could argue with it:

"Children are colourblind, children respond to affection, to love, they respond to a caring environment no matter the ethnicity of the person providing that safe haven, that sanctuary and that hope".

Dead centre with that one.

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