Oranga Tamariki inquiry hui grows, forced to find larger space

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Overwhelming demand has forced the organisers of an inquiry into Oranga Tamariki to find a bigger venue.

The Māori-led inqury is being spearheaded by the Whānau Ora commissioning agency, Te Pou Matakana.

The high amount of interest in today's hui has meant that it's been shifted from a Māngere marae to an airport hotel.

Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency chair Merepeka Raukawa-Tait announced the inquiry following the backlash over the way Oranga Tamariki is removing pēpi from their families.

She said the catastrophic number of Māori children caught up in the system had fuelled the tide of unrest.

"From what we see and what we are hearing, the picture does not look good at all."

Ms Raukawa-Tait said Māori leaders had asked them to do something, and the inquiry would be reporting back to the community.

Merepeka Raukawa-Tait

Photo: Supplied

"Just to say 'this is what we have found, these are the things that need to be improved on, that need to be corrected, this is where iwi involvement must come' and we have to be front and centre of any solution around the uplifting of children," she said.

Ms Raukawa-Tait said the way Oranga Tamariki's was operating against its statutory obligations to Māori would also be a focus of the inquiry.

Amongst Māori, she said, there was a "complete lack of trust" in the ministry.

"Really, it's about trust that is not there, it is about a relationship that is non-existent with iwi Māori and so it's very very difficult to have confidence that a government agency will be able to do the best they can.

"I suspect that they are trying, but really I think they're flogging a dead horse."