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How we are supporting indigenous-led change for family wellbeing

Video filmed and edited by Elise Lanigan

Following the release of a heartbreaking Newsroom video that documents staff from Oranga Tamariki attempting to forcefully take a baby from their mother just hours after birth, tens of thousands of us stood up to demand that children and babies be kept with their whānau and connected to their whakapapa and that families be given the support they need for everyone to thrive.

Together we delivered an open letter signed by more than 17,000 people, rallied on the streets in our hundreds to say #HandsOffOurTamariki, and courageously shared stories of our hurt and hope in order to build a better future.

The open letter, which was initiated by a network of prominent wāhine Māori (Māori women) lawyers, midwives, researchers and social workers, features 16 asks including that:

  • Not one more child be removed by the State from their whakapapa context of whānau, hapū, iwi;
  • Decisions regarding the wellbeing of tamariki must be made by whānau, hapū, iwi supported by Iwi and Māori organisations;
  • The State hand over resources to hapū, iwi and Kaupapa Māori organisations to ensure the wellbeing of tamariki Māori;
  • The State make a long term commitment to support the return of te reo, tikanga and mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge, wisdom, teachings) to whānau to support wellbeing for current and future generations.

Our focus in 2020 will be on building and demonstrating public support for these recommendations and for more government funding and support to be given to organisations like Whānau Ora and less to Oranga Tamariki.

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A quick note from our team: Around Aotearoa and the world there is a small but committed group of people who donate to ActionStation every month. They are some of the unseen heroes in these stories who nurture our campaigns from the moment they spark into existence to the moment they win.

If you feel moved after reading about what we achieved together, please consider setting up a regular contribution. 

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