Minister for Children Tracey Martin says the whānau in the middle of a controversial uplift of a Māori baby in Hawke's Bay will determine the pace of the internal review of Oranga Tamariki.

Oranga Tamariki has been under fire since it tried to take a 6-day-old baby boy from his 19-year-old mother at Hawke's Bay Hospital on May 6 because it said the child's wider family had a background of domestic violence and drug use - a claim disputed by the whānau.

Supporters tried to stop the baby being taken, police were called to the hospital and the ministry backed off.

The May 6 attempt was filmed by Newsroom, and has sparked a national conversation about institutional racism.


Martin met Hawke's Bay iwi Ngāti Kahungunu and the Māori Council at the weekend, and on Sunday announced the internal review and a partnership between Oranga Tamariki and Hawke's Bay iwi Ngāti Kahungunu.

She released the terms of reference today, and said it will run for as long as the whānau wants it to.

"One of the complaints of [the] family has been it's been constantly push push push, and in particular to a pākehā timeline. One of the things we are trying to be is respectful for them. They have been just stripped of all power up to this point.

"There is no end-date here, but we don't think it [will] take a long time. But [the] whānau has been traumatised, and they need some opportunities to do this at their pace."

The review will cover the period from February 12 to May 9 this year, which is the time Oranga Tamariki first became aware the mother was pregnant until when she and her baby were discharged from hospital.

It will be led by the chief social worker at Oranga Tamariki, but Martin said it will have independent oversight from a person appointed by Ngāti Kahungunu.

Children's Commissioner Andrew Becroft, who is conducting a wider independent investigation into Oranga Tamariki's uplifts of Māori babies aged up to three months old, will provide input into the review's design, progress and findings.

The three objectives of the review are:


• To understand what occurred from the perspective of the mother, father, whānau, Oranga Tamariki staff, iwi and other professionals

• To identify what can be learned from a local and national perspective

• To strengthen local relationships and ways of working together.

As well as focusing on the engagement with whānau, iwi and other professionals and key stakeholders, the review will examine the quality of the assessment and planning, the manner and method of processes undertaken, and how Oranga Tamariki worked as part of a wider interagency group.

The internal review will also consider whether the communication relating to the custody application was sufficient and whether it was appropriate for it to be made "without notice".

The decision about whether to make the findings public will be made after consultation with the whānau and Ngāti Kahungunu.

Earlier today Martin met with Labour's Maori caucus to discuss their concerns.

New legislation aimed at implementing a new approach for Oranga Tamariki was coming into force from July 1, and Martin said the $1.1 billion in the Wellbeing Budget for children was aimed at bringing out that change, including greater emphasis on working with whānau.

Martin said that nobody wanted the ministry to uplift three babies a week, and the interests of the child were always at the centre of any such action.

"The loss of trust inside Child Youth and Family and Oranga Tamariki didn't happen in the last two years, so my job is to rebuild a child protection service to make it trustworthy and I'm still in the process of doing that.