Children's Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft says he will not use the English name of the newly announced Ministry for Vulnerable Children and hopes the name will "wither on the vine".

Becroft says he will only use the Maori name of the new ministry, Oranga Tamariki, which means the health and wellbeing of children.

He says the Maori name is "aspirational" and positive, whereas the English name is negative, emphasising children's vulnerability rather than their wellbeing.

Becroft has argued against the English name since he became Children's Commissioner last month, but the name was confirmed today by Social Development Minister Anne Tolley who will also become the first Minister for Vulnerable Children.


"I won't call it anything other than Oranga Tamariki, and that is a challenge for all in the field," Becroft said.

"The Maori name is the exact opposite of the English name. [It] is a really positive and aspirational name.

He said there was a strong feeling in the community that for the families who will use the agency and those working in it, the name needed to be positive and aspirational to open doors.

"Most New Zealanders fail to recognise that we have three official languages, one of which is Maori. Maybe we need to get with the game and claim that part of the name that takes account of the wellbeing of our young people, and I hope that if we all do that the words 'Vulnerable Children's Ministry' will wither on the vine."

Becroft urged all New Zealanders to call the ministry Oranga Tamariki.

"I would like to think the Government would take notice of community concerns. At the very least there is now a hopeful and a visionary and an appropriate name that is available."

Tolley's office declined to comment on Becroft's stand apart from noting that she said in her speech today that people were free to use the English or Maori versions of the name.

"People can use any version of the name they wish. That won't save a single child," she said.


"I'm focused on making sure the new ministry delivers the care and protection system that vulnerable children deserve."