A power cut that affected most of Northland last week did not dim the lights on dialogue when Oranga Tamariki chief executive Grainne Moss and the new Northland Maori Collective Taitimu Taipari met at Ngati Hine Health Trust.

The Taitimu Taipari Collective met with Oranga Tamariki despite having no lights or power during the entire meeting. Ngati Hine Health Trust, Te Uri o Hau, Te Hau Awhiowhio o Otangarei Trust and He Iwi Kotahi Tatou Trust make up the collective, with hopes other Maori social service, education and health providers will join in. The collective is a unique combination of urban, hapu and iwi Maori, putting aside differences and placing the needs of whanau front and centre.

“We want to be solution-focused and practical toward Maori aspirations which the Minister Tracey Martin had expressed recently and is echoed in reports like Pu Ao Te Atatu. That report from the 1980s expressed needs that are still the same today. A by Maori, for Maori, with Maori approach. Taitimu Taipari Collective is just that”, said Geoff Milner, CEO of Ngati Hine Health Trust.

Martin Kaipo, CEO of Te Hau Awhiowhio o Otangarei Trust spoke of a willingness needed from Oranga Tamariki. Jonathan Rishworth, CEO of Te Uri o Hau shared aspirations into co-design thinking and a holistic approach. Geoff Short from the Prime Minister’s department who also attended the meeting with several representatives from Oranga Tamariki shared the vision of child wellbeing, reducing child poverty and early intervention.

In order for Maori to grow in capacity, something has to reduce and brave conversations began at the meeting around the role of Maori providers and Oranga Tamariki. While no official memorandum was signed, the meeting signalled the intention to build integrity and trust, not on a piece of paper but through a meaningful relationship and regular interaction.

Martin Kaipo, Paul McInerny, Geoff Milner, Geoff Short, Grainne Moss, Jonathan Rishworth, Kathy Diamond, Jen Rutene-Smith, Pita Tipene, Tania Moriarty and Debbie Davis.