Rangatahi team up to champion care experiences

Published: April 1, 2021 · Updated: April 16, 2021

Ten rangatahi with diverse care and life experiences have been selected for the 2020-2022 Oranga Tamariki Youth Advisory Group.

Group brings invaluable experience

The focus of the group is to help ensure that Oranga Tamariki services and systems support the long-term wellbeing of tamariki and rangatahi.

They will work alongside the Oranga Tamariki Voices of Children and Young People team to help keep the needs of tamariki and rangatahi at the centre of service design and development across the organisation. 

“We bring lived experience, and there are no qualifications which better position someone to achieve in this role,” a representative of the group says.

“There have already been moments where reports have come to us with what we viewed to be the wrong suggested outcomes. It was clear the lens they used to interpret the information was very different from our own.

“The ability to understand how proposed policies may impact someone and their sense of self is invaluable.”

Upholding the rights of tamariki and rangatahi

It's the fourth successive Oranga Tamariki youth advisory group or panel since 2015. The first two were involved in the review of Child, Youth and Family and the design of Oranga Tamariki. The third was set up to advise Oranga Tamariki across a range of services, and this latest group will continue this mahi. ​​​​​​​

The group met for the first time in November last year, and they will meet every two months for the duration of their appointment.

They’ve agreed on three core principles to guide their mahi:

  • Honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi in its entirety, including the underlying principles.
  • Taking a lifelong approach to system development, and considering the long-term impacts for tamariki in care and youth justice.
  • Upholding the rights of the child in all undertakings.

Encouraging young people to speak up

The group is taking action to champion the voices and experiences of tamariki and rangatahi. 

“We’ve seen it argued in society that children don’t understand or are too young to know what they want,” a group representative says.

“That approach achieves nothing, except for shutting down that child’s voice. These experiences actively shape their world view and their view of themselves; they will carry that throughout their lives.

“To be successful, we need to work with their voice and encourage them to speak up. This is why ‘a life-long approach’, and ‘centering the child’s voice’, were crucial to the development of our guiding principles.”