Respected Māori leader Tā Mark Solomon has been appointed Chair of the Oranga Tamariki Ministerial Advisory Board, Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis has announced today.
The Board’s report into Oranga Tamariki, Te Kahu Aroha, was delivered to the Minister last year and highlighted a need for substantial change within the organisation.
To help ensure that change was made, the Ministerial Advisory Board’s role was extended to monitor progress.
Tā Mark (pictured) will lead that ongoing work alongside fellow members Dame Naida Glavish, Shannon Pakura, Dr Ruth Jones, Mana Williams-Eade and Alfred Filipaina.
“Tā Mark has a critical eye and is dedicated to this work, I know he will be focussed on the needs for our tamariki and communities,” Minister Davis said.
Tā Mark will take over from Matthew Tukaki, who is stepping down after leading the Board since its inception and through its work compiling the initial report into Oranga Tamariki.
“Matthew has done a fantastic job in his role and has been a driving voice in the work to overhaul Oranga Tamariki,” the Minister said.
“The report he produced with the other Board members pulled no punches and was instrumental in helping me set a new direction for the agency.
“Matthew has always been a loud voice for what is in the best interests of Māori and I’m glad he was able to use that focus to lay the foundations for improvements to child protection.”
Oranga Tamariki has recently appointed a new leadership team, and is continuing work on the Future Direction Plan, which will lead to decision-making and resources devolved to communities.
Tā Mark, who has been a member of the Board since its inception, will lead the ongoing work of the body that reports directly to the Minister.
“Reforming the child protection system is an issue of huge importance to our country and it is one I am honoured to be playing a part in,” Tā Mark said.
“It is no secret that Māori are over-represented in this system and that the old models don’t work. I will be working hard to make sure the transformation of Oranga tamariki changes that,” he said.