Kelvin Davis may be wondering what he signed up for.
After asking to be Children's Minister, which gives him responsibility for Oranga Tamariki, the Labour MP had a baptism of fire last week.
On Monday, Children's Commissioner Andrew Becroft produced the latest report to recommend an overhaul of Oranga Tamariki, urging an end to its most harmful uplift practices and handing over more power to Māori.
On Tuesday, speculation emerged that his ministry's chief executive Grainne Moss was about to resign - partly fuelled by one of his own colleagues, Peeni Henare, who he publicly scolded.
On Wednesday, Moss admitted before the Waitangi Tribunal that Oranga Tamariki had failed to tackle structural racism and that this had led to poorer outcomes for Māori.
And on Thursday, Davis had to call in Oranga Tamariki officials to the Beehive to explain a "disturbing" report about its removal of four foster children from an apparently loving family.
So what appealed to him about the fraught portfolio?
"It is what I came into Parliament for - to make a difference for Māori," he told the Herald. "And what was happening with our children, I just don't accept that is the way I want our Māori people to achieve their full aspirations and potential.
"I hate to see children being hurt. I want every child in New Zealand to have every opportunity that this country offers."
A former schoolteacher and principal in the Far North, his first brushes with the state care system left him unimpressed. He won't go into detail, but said his experience of Oranga Tamariki's predecessor Child Youth and Family was that its solutions often made the problem worse.
He would not outline a detailed plan for Oranga Tamariki, saying he was still meeting officials, iwi and social services.
But he is clear about some things: there will be change, and it will be Māori-led. He does not agree with a separate Māori entity, or a complete handover of power to Māori.
"The Crown can't wash its hands and say 'this is too hard for us, we've got to hand it off'," he said.
"We've got to be there but we've got to change our attitude towards Māori solutions."
He added: "There will be a handover of power and resources [to Māori]. But just dumping power and resources tomorrow on a group of people doesn't mean we are going to have a better system.
"We have to make sure we plan it and plan it well … so we just don't repeat the mistakes that have been made."
Davis takes over as Oranga Tamariki is in the third year of a five-year transformation to change the way New Zealand's most vulnerable children are cared for.
On paper, progress has been made since it began operating in 2017.
The number of children in care has nearly halved. Social worker caseloads have fallen from 31 kids per worker to 21 kids. New minimum standards for state care have been established. And the most controversial aspect of its work, "without notice" uplifts of Māori children, have fallen from around 650 a year ago to 180 - though Māori babies are still far more likely to be removed without warning.
It has not significantly reduced New Zealand's shameful record of child abuse. Child physical and sexual assault rates have fallen slightly since 2017 - but well short of the 20 per cent reduction set by the previous National Government (a target which was dropped by the Coalition Government in 2018).
Oranga Tamariki also began trialling early intervention services in four locations around the country last year, which include placing social workers within families for a year or two to teach good parenting practices. It is still too early to tell whether the $31 million programme, co-designed with iwi, will be a success.
Under its previous minister, NZ First MP Tracey Martin, Oranga Tamariki began devolving more power to iwi and social services. It has signed formal agreements with five iwi so far.
In some instances, those partnerships simply formalised work that iwi were already doing. And they have shown some promise.
Urewera-based iwi Tuhoe said the number of its tamariki going into care had fallen from 123 in 2018/19 to just 62 in 2019/20. Whenever a Tuhoe child was flagged as at-risk anywhere in the country, the iwi's office was now alerted and its members worked to find a new home within extended family or hapū.
"In every circumstance, we know personally the nan, the aunty, the in-laws, the first partners, we know the good and the bad," Tuhoe CEO Kirsti Luke told a Waitangi Tribunal hearing last week.
"We had a case [of a] potential uplift on Sunday and it was resolved with baby going home. Whānau have stepped in and we have been able to intervene before they become a statistic."
Luke hinted at some discomfort within Oranga Tamariki about handing over control to Tuhoe to look after at-risk kids.
"In the Tuhoe, partnership means 80 to 90 per cent Tuhoe leadership and direction, objective, aim, effort, contribution, and giving. And for Tuhoe, a good partnership is that 20 per cent is the Crown contribution. That is considered fair."
Davis agreed with Tuhoe's sentiment.
"It doesn't have to be an equal relationship. A lot of the leadership would be driven by Māori, and the Crown's role is simply to pull those levers of Government to ensure that Māori aspirations are achieved."
Martin, the previous Children's Minister, felt it was inappropriate to give advice to Davis ("nothing worse than the last person giving their reckons"). But she hoped the new minister continued the path of devolution which she started.
She also said Oranga Tamariki's success was heavily dependent on other Government departments addressing the inequality which contributed to children going into state care. The ministry could achieve the goals of its five-year transformation, but nothing would change for Māori if inequality was not addressed, she said.
Luke, the Tuhoe CEO, said while fewer Tuhoe tamariki had gone into care over the past two years, reports of concern from within Tuhoe had remained steady. That indicated the stresses and hardship that contributed to children going into care were not yet being addressed.
Some prominent Māori leaders are more sceptical about any partnerships with Oranga Tamariki, saying the organisation has always had a "master-servant" approach.
"As Grainne Moss said, there is systemic racism within all levels at the organisation," said Merepeka Raukawa-Tait, Whānau Ora's North Island Commissioning Chair.
"If that is the case, why wouldn't you want to say 'no, it's too dangerous for our children to have long-term involvement with your organisation'."
She did not believe Davis could rebuild trust with Māori if Moss was still in charge, given all of the negative attention about Oranga Tamariki's uplift of Māori babies under her leadership.
Davis has so far refused to back Moss publicly. Asked what it would take for him to do so, he said he wanted evidence of a "real, genuine" alliance between Oranga Tamariki and Māori.
"There are issues with the leadership and I'm handling them," he said.
"But let's be clear, the changes we need to make in Oranga Tamariki are bigger than the leadership."