Access to Justice for Whānau, Hapū, Iwi
Developing digital content to educate and support Iwi and Māori social service providers and legal practitioners to support whanau working with Oranga Tamariki – Ministry for Children and the Family Court
About the project
Māori continue to be over-represented in the care and protection system. While only 16.5% of the population, Tamariki Māori represent 69% of the children in the custody of the Chief Executive of Oranga Tamariki as at June 2019. The need to involve the wider whānau, hapū and iwi in legal processes is essential from a Māori perspective and consistent with the Oranga Tamariki Outcomes Framework. However, the system has been described by Māori as lacking adequate understanding of whānau, hapū and iwi, and as disempowering. Families before the court often lack an understanding of the complexities of the court system, have poor communication with agents of the court and lawyers, feel powerless and unable to voice their concerns or needs.
One of the key barriers to tamariki Māori maintaining their place within, and connection to, their whānau, hapū and iwi is that whānau are not equipped to participate constructively or effectively in decision-making regarding their tamariki. It falls to legal practitioners and advocates to support and inform whanau of their rights and responsibilities in the legal system. This project will create digital content to educate and strengthen the knowledge and skills of legal practitioners and social service providers that work with whanau. This legal information and training is designed to support lawyers and iwi providers to ensure whānau are informed and can actively engage with the care and protection process, including within the Family Court.
$50,000 over six months
About Te Korimako Legal Education
Established in 2017, Te Korimako is an initiative to train and educate Iwi, legal and social service providers to assist whānau who come to the attention of Oranga Tamariki to participate in the care and protection process, including within the Family Court.
For more information see the Te Korimako Legal Education Facebook page.
Tania Williams Blyth is of Ngāti Pukenga and Te Arawa (Tapuika and Waitaha) descent. She is a senior family lawyer who has appeared as counsel in the Family Court since 1999. She has carried out research in relation to whānau experience of involvement with Oranga Tamariki as well as whānau experience of care and protection proceedings in the Family Court.
The Te Korimako Legal Education kaupapa is supported by and delivered with the assistance of Family Court judges, legal practitioners, advocates and academics.