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Hundreds rally to call for change at Oranga Tamariki

More than 300 people are at the Cenotaph in Wellington calling for Oranga Tamariki to stop taking children from their families.

Protesters calling for change at Oranga Tamariki at the Cenotaph. Photo: RNZ / Ana Tovey

The Hands Off Our Tamariki Network are to hand an open letter to Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson at Parliament this afternoon demanding the State stop removing Māori from whānau.

Speakers at the protest told the crowd Māori should be the ones caring for their children, and the state must leave their mokopuna alone.

Sarah Taiapa said she cannot believe that children are still being taken by the state in 2019.

She said to preserve the Māori culture, tamariki must be kept with whānau.

“This here is raising the awareness and physically getting the people together to face the problem face-to-face.

“Just to show that we are here, we care, this is a problem, as something does need to be done about it.”

Wellington protesters rallying against what they say is the unfair removal of Māori children from their whānau by Oranga Tamariki. Photo: RNZ / Ana Tovey

Acting Prime Minister Kelvin Davis said just like the video of the Christchurch terror attack, he’s never watched the video of an attempted removal of a Māori child from its mother.

Mr Davis said he did not need to watch either video to know something terrible had happened.

“I don’t need to watch it to know that something terrible happened, just like I haven’t seen the 15 March video to know that something terrible happened there. We know what the situation is.”

Mr Davis has spoken to a large group at Parliament today who are protesting against the removal of children.

He said his message is that there are too many Māori tamariki in care and too many dying but he accepts children do need to be removed from their parents when they are at risk.