Topic: Health

If we can fight for our land, we can fight for our tamariki - Dame Tariana Turia

By Ani-Oriwia Adds
  • Wellington

Former Māori Party co-leader Dame Tariana Turia is threatening to march to Parliament again and voice her concerns regarding the Children, Young Persons and their families (Oranga Tamariki) legislation currently before Parliament. She's concerned that the proposed amendments give CYPFS the legal power to determine who will raise Māori children who have been uplifted from family.

People are frustrated, angry and ready to support Tariana Turia in her march to Parliament.

Dame Tariana Turia told Te Kaea, “It is timely for the government to be listening to Tangata whenua about these issues, after all, these issues impact on our whānau long term, and we know that there’s a negative down trend when you take children out of their families.”

Local iwi are gathering and voicing their concerns about some of the changes being made to the Oranga Tamariki Legislation Bill. Under the current legislation, CYF must look to the extended whānau and hapū to place these children. She says under the new amendments this will change and give CYF the legal power to determine who will raise Māori children who have been uplifted from whānau.

“We know that there are many things that are external outside of the whanau that are hugely influencing on those young people, and we're having to deal with all that as well, so the state need sot understand that.”

Dame Turia says if we can walk for our land if we can walk for our foreshore, we can certainly act for our tamariki. She called a meeting at Te Wānanga o Raukawa calling for whānau to encourage Māori individuals, whānau, hapū and communities to make their views known on the proposed amendments. This will also include preparing submissions to the Select Committee due February 15.

“The 70 people who turned up at Raukawa are very keen to hear from the minister, to understand why the legislation is written in the way that it is but more importantly to be able to talk to her in a constructive way about a better way forward.”

Dame Turia says the legislation cannot be allowed to proceed and if need be, she would march.