A defiant Oranga Tamariki boss Grainne Moss says will not resign from the ministry.
Moss spoke to reporters this afternoon and insisted she was committed to Oranga Tamariki to make change. She had not been asked by the Government to resign, she said.
The Belfast-born chief executive said she'd had some "very effective" conversations with new Children's Minister Kelvin Davis - who has so far refused to express confidence in her. The two were still in the process of getting to know each other, she said.
Moss said she had "no idea" where the rumours came from that she was set to resign from the ministry, which is tasked with caring for New Zealand's most vulnerable children and tackling child abuse.
Her agency has been under intense scrutiny since video was published of the uplift of a week-old Māori baby in Hastings last year.
That event has 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 Maori leaders remain deeply distrustful of Oranga Tamariki and felt that transformational change was yet to occur.
Moss recognised some of the harm inflicted on Maori families by Oranga Tamariki in a frank address to the Waitangi Tribunal this afternoon.
In her opening statement, she said structural racism was "a feature of the care and protection system" and it had led to poor outcomes for Māori tamariki taken from their whānau.
"The impact of structural racism on outcomes for and experiences of tamariki
and their whānau, and on culture and trust more generally, means that the Crown
should have identified the need to tackle structural racism head on in the
establishment of Oranga Tamariki," she said.
She also told the inquiry that the Crown had failed to fully put in place the recommendations of the 1988 report Puao-te-Ata-tu about a Māori perspective for social support.
Speaking to reporters, she said making the concessions was "very emotional". It was the first time she had publicly admitted Oranga Tamariki's ingrained racism.
Her appearance comes after a Māori Television report earlier today that said she was poised to depart from the troubled welfare agency.
On Monday, Children's Commissioner Andrew Becroft released the second of two reports on Oranga Tamariki.
The report called for the Government to commit to transferring power and resources to Māori to care for children that might otherwise be dealt with by the state. The move would enable a "By Māori, for Māori" approach, Becroft said.
It also recommended that Oranga Tamariki halt its practice of removing babies from birthing suites or maternity wards.