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Unreasonable actions throughout dealings with custodial caregiver

Children in care
Ombudsmen Act 1975
Oranga Tamariki
Peter Boshier
Case number(s):
Issue date:

Use of incorrect, unverified information—failure to perform due diligence before removing mokopuna from caregiver —inadequate review of case, and inadequate response to review—failure to work with complainant in a way that met their needs as a Māori person


The complainant, the custodial caregiver of their mokopuna, complained to the Chief Ombudsman about Oranga Tamariki—Ministry for Children, formerly Child, Youth and Family (the Ministry) . The complaint concerned the Ministry’s removal of te tamaiti from their care, and the Ministry’s actions after reviewing the case.

The Ombudsman investigated the complainant’s concerns, and also investigated whether the Ministry had failed to work with them in a manner consistent with their values and needs as a Māori person.

The Ombudsman found the Ministry had acted unreasonably throughout its dealings with the complainant.

The Ministry’s unreasonable actions included:

  • using incorrect and unverified information about the complainant;
  • failing to perform due diligence before removing their mokopuna;
  • the Ministry’s review of the case failing to cover the wide-ranging issues the complainant raised; and
  • the Ministry failing to implement the review’s recommendations fairly.

The Ombudsman’s recommendations included that the Ministry make an adequate apology to the complainant, pay for additional counselling for them, and improve its guidance for staff on working in a trauma-informed manner. The Ministry accepted all recommendations.

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