Maori children are uplifted by the New Zealand government at disproportionate rates compared with tauiwi children. The removal of tamariki from culturally embedded networks exacerbates intergenerational trauma created by colonisation. Placements into unsafe contexts mean that additional instances of harm and cumulative trauma are common, and tamaiti atawhai are not positioned within fullness of their cultural being. This article draws on a broader Kaupapa Māori project involving semistructured interviews with kaiāwhina Māori across the North Island. Using thematic analysis, this article discusses collisions between settler-colonialism and Māori culture experienced by kaiāwhina. State disengagement with Māori culture poses harm to Māori staff and constrains the utility of tikanga Māori through the unquestioned dominance of Eurocentric approaches while enacting harm upon whānau. This work positions radical structural overhaul of existing state care systems as imperative while seeking to illuminate elements of settler-colonialism that prevent care and protection systems from incorporating mātauranga Māori.