Three additional members have been appointed to the Oranga Tamariki Ministerial Advisory Board by Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis, providing representation for the youth, disability and Pasifika communities.
The Board, initially set up in January, provides independent advice and assurance to the Minister for Children as work begins to reset the organisation.
“Today I am pleased to announce to welcome new members Dr Ruth Jones, Mana Williams-Eade and Alfred Filipaina to the Board, Kelvin Davis said.
“They join Board Chair Matthew Tukaki, Dame Naida Glavish, Sir Mark Solomon and Shannon Pakura and will work alongside Oranga Tamariki to change our child care and protection system.”
Dr Ruth Jones has worked in the disability sector for more than 20 years both as a practitioner and a manager. Mana Williams-Eade is the current co-chair of VOYCE Whakarongo Mai and has care-experience, while Alfred Filipaina was a community constable for 33 years and is a respected Auckland City Councillor for the Manukau Ward.
The appointments will ensure a wider range of views are represented on the Board, particularly those of young people who have experienced the care system.
“Dr Ruth Jones, Mana Williams Eade and Alfred Filipaina bring with them skills and experience that will enrich the membership of the Board,” Matthew Tukaki said.
“They bring the voices of their communities to the table and their contribution will help ensure that we are able to more effectively work alongside Oranga Tamariki to implement all the recommendations of our report Te Kahu Aroha and improve outcomes for our most vulnerable tamariki and whānau.”
A new action plan to implement the Board’s initial recommendations has been put in place and work is well underway in talking to communities about how they see the future of child protection.
“We know the system is broken and we are going to fix it,” Kelvin Davis said.
“I firmly believe the answer lies in Oranga Tamariki taking a back seat and working in true partnership with communities who know best for their young people.”
Short bios on new Board Members:
Dr Ruth Jones (Rongowhakaata/Te Aitanga a Māhaki/Ngāti Porou) is a qualified social worker and a co-director of Kanohi ki te Kanohi consultancy. She has worked in the disability sector as a practitioner and manager for the past 20 years and, as a disabled person, is committed to ensuring all people, including tangata and whānau whaikaha (Māori with disabilities and their whānau) are respected as equal citizens. She was also a member of the Taskforce for Action on Violence within Families for five years and an active contributor to the Disability Coalition Against Violence, while it was active.
Mana Williams-Eade is the current co-chair of VOYCE Whakarongo Mai and is employed at the Ministry for Social Development as a Policy Analyst. Previously, he worked at Oranga Tamariki in the Tamariki Advocate Group and the Policy Team. Mana is care-experienced; he was placed into care at eight months old and then whāngai by his aunty and uncle when he turned 12. He was part of a Youth Advisory Group at 17 (Te Whānau Aroha) which helped advise ministers to overhaul Child Youth and Family into what is now Oranga Tamariki
Alfred Filipaina was a community constable for 33 years from the mid-1980s through to 1997 before becoming a Manukau City Councillor. Since 2010, he has been a councillor on Auckland City Council. He is also a member of the LGNZ subcommittee, Te Maruata Roopu Whakahaere as the metro representative. Originally from Te Tai Tokerau, Alfred moved to Māngere with his whānau as a child and has lived there now for over 57 years. He is a very well-respected community leader within South Auckland in both Pasifika and Māori communities.