He Whare Takata: Are wāhine Māori visible in Oranga Tamariki practice guidance?


  • Kerri Cleaver Kāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe, Waitaha, University of Canterbury, Aotearoa New Zealand


Mana wāhine, Indigenous, settler colonialism, reproductive justice, child protection


INTRODUCTION: The gauge of a society is how it responds to women and children and, in settler colonial nations, how it responds to the Indigenous women and children. This includes how society upholds the rights and responsibilities of women’s self-determination of body rights and reproductive Justice. Reproductive justice in the settler colonial environment of Aotearoa is tightly tied to the experiences of wāhine Māori and our lived realities across the colonial project. To give full rights and responsibilities to wāhine as holders of whakapapa, birthing practices, and keepers of knowledge, we must be willing to assess and critique society and hold colonial systems to account.

APPROACH: This article follows on from the companion literature analysis article “He Whare Takata: Wāhine Māori reproductive justice in the child protection system”, which provides a detailed description of pre- and post-colonial herstory, providing the reader with an extensive storying of wāhine as leaders. Both articles accept a mana wāhine foundational position that asserts the rakatirataka (leadership and self-determination) of wāhine and the inherent rights of wāhine as ‘he whare takata’, the house of humanity.

CONCLUSIONS: Drawing on the groundwork laid in the companion article, this analysis examines the Oranga Tamariki (OT) practice and evidence centres, specifically auditing content produced following the “Hawkes Bay Uplift” for evidence of a shift of practice that incorporates wāhine knowing, being and doing holding to the foundation of ‘he whare takata’.

Author Biography

Kerri Cleaver, Kāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe, Waitaha, University of Canterbury, Aotearoa New Zealand

Practice Lead, Tiaki Taoka

Registered Social Worker


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How to Cite

Cleaver, K. (2024). He Whare Takata: Are wāhine Māori visible in Oranga Tamariki practice guidance?. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 36(2), 57–67. Retrieved from https://anzswjournal.nz/anzsw/article/view/1136



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