About us

About us

We are a new Ministry dedicated to supporting any child in New Zealand whose wellbeing is at significant risk of harm now, or in the future. We also work with young people who may have offended, or are likely to offend.

Our belief is that in the right environment, with the right people surrounding and nurturing them, any child can, and should flourish. 

Our name

Our full name is Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki.

'Oranga' is the wellbeing we want to help the children we work with to have.

'Tamariki' reminds us that children are descended from greatness. They are born with an inherent mana that can be damaged by abuse and neglect.

We support children, family and whānau to restore their mana, their sense of self, their important connections and relationships, their right to heal and recover, and reach their potential.

oranga tamariki about video cover young boy

New Zealand values the wellbeing of tamariki above all else.

Our vision

The Oranga Tamariki Way

We’re introducing a new way of doing things. A way of looking at the world that guides everything we do:

We put tamariki first

We will challenge when things aren’t right for the child.

We respect the mana of people

We listen, we don’t assume, and we create solutions with others. 

We believe aroha is vital

It keeps us focused on what is right.

We value whakapapa

Tamariki are part of a whānau and a community.

We are tika and pono

We do what we say we’ll do.

We recognise that oranga is a journey

We understand the long-term impact of our actions today.

To ensure that all tamariki are in loving whānau and communities where oranga tamariki can be realised.

Our purpose
who we are family

Foundations for our new way of working

It’s important that we take the time to get things right. It will take four to five years for all the new services, systems and processes to be in place.

We’re working closely with a wide range of agencies, organisations and individuals, including young people and caregivers, and together we’ll create a better way of doing things.

We will question, “is this working?”, and if it’s not, we’ll change it. We’ll use research, and make sure our decisions are evidence based. As we evaluate and change to improve children's lives, we’ll develop the best processes, enabled by technology.

Our building blocks

Here's the foundations we're building on:

A child centred system

We know every child has unique needs. Our job is to listen to them, understand them and take those needs on board when we make decisions. We'll ask ourselves 'Is this the right thing to do for the child?' at every step of the way.

High aspirations for Māori children

We always expect the very best for our tamariki Māori, and will work closely with families, whānau, hapū and iwi to make it happen. New ways of measuring our work, and regular and transparent reporting will help us and our partners to understand the progress we're making.

An investment approach

Prevention is now central to what we do. By investing up front in our tamariki, we can ensure their wellbeing further down the line, and reduce the costs to society.

Strategic partnerships

We recognise that our partners are often well placed to help our tamariki in ways that we can't. The future is about building bridges between our partners, and encouraging a deeper commitment and more shared responsibility. By building capacity and capability, together we can start transforming outcomes for children.

Practice framework

A clear framework of practice will describe the values, principles, definitions and approaches to deliver positive outcomes for vulnerable children. This will empower people to use their professional judgment, based on an evidence-based understanding of the impact of trauma on children and young people. A system-wide framework will also be developed, to guide other professionals working with vulnerable children, young people and their families, ensuring a coherent experience.

Engaging all New Zealanders

We know we can’t do this on our own. All New Zealanders have a role to play in providing love, care and support to vulnerable children, young people and their families. We’ll work to raise awareness and help communities to step forward and feel some responsibility towards– not just their own children ­– but all our children, and especially those who are most at-risk of harm to their wellbeing. 

United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

We are guided by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC). It's a set of fundamental rights many countries have agreed to for all their children, to ensure they lead safe, happy, fulfilled childhoods. We're proud that New Zealand has been part of it since 1993.

Read more at:
The United Nations

Hear their voices

Sometimes on this website we reference quotes from young people who have had contact with the former Child Youth and Family service. This reinforces that the voices of children and young people need to be present at every level of what we, the new Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki, do. If the quotes are anonymous it's to protect the identity of the young person. Many quotes have been sourced from the 'Voices' project, which helped inform the Expert Advisory Panel's Review of Child Youth and Family.