Article originally published in the Northern Advocate. This is a premium article.

This week marked the first stage of Oranga Tamariki’s Te Tai Tokerau Children’s Team transition to a community-led model run by Māori organisations based in Northland.

“Our whānau hear Oranga Tamariki and automatically think that their children are going to be taken off them. It just makes sense that the support side of what Oranga Tamariki does comes over to us [Tai Timu Tai Pari], because that’s what we’re doing anyway,” said Te Uri o Hau Tangata Development manager Tania Moriarty.

Te Hau Āwhiowhio ō Otangarei Trust CEO Martin Kaipo said, “Māori providers have been at the coalface for up to 30 years … The biggest advantage that we’ve got is we can get into the doors of our whānau and have these challenging conversations, because we’re in the communities, we know the behaviours, we know the trends, and we can challenge them.”

A hui held on Monday at Ngāti Hine Health Trust in Whangārei was well attended by representatives of the various organisations working under the banner of Tai Timu Tai Pari, the group set to take control of Oranga Tamariki’s Children’s Team.

Previously, the Children’s Team had been tasked with working with referrals to develop plans of support that would ensure the wellbeing of identified children. Three members of Oranga Tamariki’s Te Tai Tokerau Children’s Team will soon begin working with Tai Timu Tai Pari and will be based out of Te Uri o Hau Tangata Development.

“With all the issues with Oranga Tamariki and now the Government making a move to devolve a lot of these services, Māori providers have put their hands up and said to the community ‘collectively, we’re going to work together and work stronger but we’re going to have that relationship with you. We’re going to show you what we do’,” said Kaipo.

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