The head of a Māori-led inquiry into Oranga Tamariki who slammed it for "inexplicable breaches of human rights towards Māori" will now be at the forefront of its transformation.
Dame Naida Glavish is one of four Māori leaders chosen by Children's Minister Kelvin Davis to form the newly-established Oranga Tamariki Ministerial Advisory Board.
The announcement comes just days after Grainne Moss resigned as head of the agency, which has been under intense scrutiny and criticism since a video was published of the uplift of a week-old Māori baby in Hastings in 2019.
That event led to no less than five reviews of Oranga Tamariki and its child uplift practices: an internal review, and inquiries by Whānau Ora, the Chief Ombudsman, the Children's Commissioner, and the Waitangi Tribunal.
The number of children in state care and the number of uplifts has fallen under Moss' watch, and partnerships are being created with iwi to prevent their tamariki from going into care or keeping them within extended family.
But many prominent Māori leaders remained deeply distrustful of Oranga Tamariki and felt that transformational change was yet to occur.
Davis refused to express confidence in Moss, although he denied he had any say in her resignation.
The new board will advise Davis on the agency's relationships with families, whānau, and Māori; professional social work practices; and organisational culture.
"The Government is committed to fixing the child care and protection system and ensuring that Oranga Tamariki becomes an enabler; the organisation that people trust and go to for help," Davis said.
"This group will help us achieve that."
Glavish, who was on the Māori Party list in the 2020 election, chaired the governance group that oversaw the Whānau Ora review into Oranga Tamariki, which revealed hundreds of stories of babies being removed from their whānau, some involving armed police turning up without notice.
At the time Glavish said it confirmed "systemic failure, discrimination and inexplicable breaches of human rights towards Māori".
Glavish said then they were calling for a complete overhaul of Oranga Tamariki, the Family Court ex-parte (without notice) order process, the law that facilitated uplifts, and she wanted to see the immediate resignation of chief executive Grainne Moss.
Glavish was also part of a group wahine Māori leaders - including Dame Tariana Turia, Dame Iritana Tāwhiwhirangi, Dame Areta Kopua, Lady Tureiti Moxon and Merepeka Raukawa-Tait - who filed an urgent claim last year against Oranga Tamariki in the Waitangi Tribunal.
Given that 60 to 70 per cent of children in State care are Māori, the claim advocated that 60 to 70 per cent of the resources go to Māori under a new Mokopuna Māori Authority.
Joining Glavish on the board are National Māori Authority executive director Matthew Tukaki; former President of the Aotearoa Association of Social Workers Shannon Pakura, who was also former Chief Social Worker for the Department of Child, Youth and Family; and Tā Mark Solomon, former longtime chairman of Ngāi Tahu and current chair of the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency for the South Island.
Davis said the "accomplished, senior, and well-respected members" would be instrumental in ensuring Oranga Tamariki provided the best possible care for tamariki.
"Given the nature of Oranga Tamariki's work, public trust and confidence are crucial for it to meet its core responsibilities and serve those children, young people, whānau and communities it comes into contact with.
"Over time allegations, issues and concerns have been raised regarding Oranga Tamariki and its practice and culture; its lack of coordination with other NGOs; and its relationship with many Māori communities.
"These issues are having a negative impact on the ability of the ministry to fulfil its role and it is important that they are addressed.
"Oranga Tamariki needs to be focused on enhancing relationships with whānau and Māori; embedding professional social work practices; developing a positive culture; and starting to entrust funding and decision-making to Māori and to people on the ground in our regions."
The board would commence on February 1, and an initial report is expected by June 30.
Moss' last day as chief executive of Oranga Tamariki will be February 28, when Sir Wira Gardiner - of Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Pikiao, Te Whānau-ā-Apanui and Te Whakatōhea - will take over as acting chief executive.