In response to the story of whistleblower Oranga Tamariki


Members of the professional youth work association Korowai Tupu saw the newsroom article and at first glance the inexcusable actions included. We tattoo the person who brought this practice to light and are most concerned about the youth (s) involved and others who may have had similar experiences.

This behavior is not consistent with youth work and is not the way youth work is, or should be practiced. Youth work supports the national principles of youth development, Mana Taiohi, as well as the code of ethics for youth work in Aotearoa. Korowai Tupu condemns the abusive treatment of rangatahi who should be safe in the custody of Oranga Tamariki by any professional, especially those who hold the title of educator. This is not youth work, and the people who engage in these practices are not youth workers.

We strongly urge those who work alongside the rangatahi in formal settings to work towards becoming members of Korowai Tupu, in recognition of safe, skilled and ethical practice. There is a range of national, evidence-based and highly respected qualifications in youth work, from certificate level through diploma level to diplomas available on a full-time or on-the-job basis.

We recognize that youth work takes place in a number of different contexts within Oranga Tamariki and that more infrastructure is needed to support professional youth work to thrive. We know that there is a great appetite for change within Oranga Tamariki, that this change is coming from many levels, and the professional youth leaders working within Oranga Tamariki are a key part of this change. We recognize past and ongoing kōrero with Oranga Tamariki to clarify the role of youth workers within their organization and to differentiate between those who practice professional youth work and those who are inaccurately assigned the title of youth worker. .

We hope that together we can make these changes quickly and effectively.
Above all, we want supported rangatahi to be safe.

Korowai Tupu is the professional association for youth work in Aotearoa. Our members meet the standards set by our core competencies, are responsible for the youth work code of ethics and are committed to continuous professional development. Korowai Tupu is under the leadership of Ara Taiohi, the leading youth development organization in Aotearoa.

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