The number of babies in Hawke's Bay taken by Oranga Tamariki has increased in the past six years - a statistic labelled as "horrific".

According to documents released to Hawke's Bay Today under the Official Information Act (OIA), 147 babies in Hawke's Bay, from unborn to 365 days old, entered into the care or custody of Oranga Tamariki, under a number of pathways, between July 1, 2012, to March 31, 2019.

Māori babies taken accounted for more than half of that number.

For the 2012-13 financial year (July 1 to June 30), 18 babies were taken, 14 of which were