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Update from the Ombudsman

The name doesn’t really roll off your tongue, we know. But the Ombudsman can be a valuable resource for caregivers and the children in your care.

What does the Ombudsman do?

Peter Boshier is New Zealand’s Chief Ombudsman. His main role is to help manage and investigate complaints about government agencies, such as Oranga Tamariki. This also includes groups and organisations that carry out work for Oranga Tamariki.

If you think a decision made by Oranga Tamariki or one of its care providers isn’t fair, you can talk to the Ombudsman.

What is the complaints process?

There are some handy resources that explain the “children in care complaints process” clearly. They are available in both te reo Māori and English, and include:

Complaints are not accepted through social media.

The legislation and oversight powers of the Ombudsman

The Ombudsman can receive and consider complaints about Oranga Tamariki and its care or custody providers. The links below will direct you to important information on his legal powers.

The oversight bodies (the Ombudsman, Mana Mokopuna and Aroturuki Tamariki) have also developed resources together on the oversight system for Oranga Tamariki, which include:

If you are concerned about the safety of a tamaiti (child) or rangatahi (young person) in care, freephone Oranga Tamariki on 0508 326 459 or the police on 111.

Tamariki (children) and rangatahi (young people) can text the Ombudsman for free

If a child or young person in your care has concerns about the services or support received from Oranga Tamariki, its care or custody providers, they can text the Ombudsman on 8951. A staff member from the Ombudsman’s office will call them back.

New website designed with children in mind

Nau-mai.nz provides an extra layer of support for children and young people to learn more about the Ombudsman’s services and to help them get problems sorted. It is easy to read and designed to provide a sense of safety.

We encourage you to share this website and text number directly with the children in your care, to ensure they know about the Ombudsman and how to access help when needed.

A review of the oversight of the Oranga Tamariki system

On 2 May 2024, Hon Louise Upston announced a review of the Oversight of Oranga Tamariki System Act 2022. This review will start later this year, allowing for input from the final report of the Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry.

Can you help the Ombudsman?

The Ombudsman is working on two new projects that will provide further guidance to care and custody providers, but he needs your input.

The two projects focus on:

  • complaint handling and systems improvement for care and custody providers
  • obligations under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA).

The resources that will be produced will be tikanga-informed, child-centred, and trauma-informed.

If you are interested in engaging with the Ombudsman to assist with this important work, please email info@ombudsman.parliament.nz  with the subject heading Complaint handling and OIA project.

Contact details

The Ombudsman is open Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 5:00pm. If you contact the office, an initial response can usually be expected within 24 to 48 hours. If contact is made over the weekend, a response will be made once the office opens again.

To make an enquiry or complaint you can:

  • Call 0800 184 184
  • Text 8951 (for free) for a call back, if you are a child or young person
  • Email info@ombudsman.parliament.nz
  • Send a letter to PO Box 10152, Wellington 6143