October 3, 2019

Māori perspectives on care and protection in the Family Court

Māori perspectives on care and protection in the Family Court

Lead researcher:

Tania Williams Blyth

Whakauae researchers:

Dr Amohia Boulton, Lynley Cvitanovic


The research questions guiding this one-year study are:

  • What would keep whānau who have come to the attention of Oranga Tamariki and of the Family Court better engaged in Family Court processes? and,
  • What would support improved outcomes for these whānau and their tamariki?

To address these questions, we are exploring the Family Court processes that ‘work’ for whānau and those that do not. The commonalities and differences in the experiences whānau have with Family Court processes are also being identified.

This Kaupapa Māori study is drawing on a simple mixed methods approach to examine the understandings and experiences of 25 whānau. Data collection is primarily being conducted using a one-off survey that incorporates both closed and open-ended questions. Whānau have the opportunity to self-administer the survey online with the lead researcher available to assist where required. Alternatively, whānau can participate in a session with the lead researcher to together complete the survey.


In mid-2019, we applied to the New Zealand Ethics Committee (Te Roopu Rapu I te Tika) for a review of the proposed study. Ethics approval was conferred by the Roopu in September 2019. Soon after, Tania Williams Blyth began whānau participant recruitment in conjunction with 14 Māori and iwi social services agencies in a number of North and South Island regions. She designed a participant recruitment poster for display at the premises of these agencies offering interested whānau the opportunity to opt into the study. Tania has now begun data collection and expects to complete this by mid-November 2019. Research team data analysis is scheduled for late November 2019 with preliminary results expected to be available to share with representatives of the Family Court before the end of the year.

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