Why place Māori children with Māori caregivers? : a dissertation presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Social Work (Applied) Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
This qualitative study explores the concepts of customary care, recognising the
Maori worldview and emphasising the value of placing Maori children with Maori
caregivers. It examines the establishment of the Matua Whangai Programme in the
context of the social/political issues of the 1980-1990s and the impact of legislation and
reports on the placement of Maori children outside of whanau.
The participants in this study were three caregivers m the Matua Whangai
Programme. They each had experience of customary care practice in their own whanau
and who generalised this experience in the context of the Matua Whangai programme.
In this community, the Matua Whangai programme ran from 1985 to 1991. The
study shows that when the programme was disestablished, not only did Maori children
lose access to whanau whangai (foster families), the community also lost tribal linkages,
both locally and nationally, along with effective networks with other social and
governmental agencies established by Matua Whangai within the Lower South Island