On 16 July a hui took place at the Northland Regional Corrections facility (‘NRCF’) between iwi of Te Kahu o Taonui and the Department of Corrections (‘Corrections’) alongside partner agencies. At the invitation of Te Kahu o Taonui, rangatira from across the public service including the Secretary of Justice, Andrew Kibblewhite, Police Commissioner Andrew Coster, and the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Social Development Debbie Power met. The Chief Judge of the District Court, Heemi Taumaunu and Principal Youth Court Judge, John Walker were also prominent participants.
The hui aligned with the launch of the Māori Pathways programme at the NRCF by Corrections Minister, Kelvin Davis and Whanau Ora Minister, Peeni Henare. It was asserted by iwi present that they were there to acknowledge and support the lead of Ngati Rangi, mana whenua of Ngawha, as well as help weave together a mana to mana relationship in transforming the Ministry of Justice and Corrections approach towards humanising to improve the Criminal Justice system.
There are many kaupapa that are currently being led out from Te Tai Tokerau, each of them intertwined and with the benefit of whanau Maori currently in the justice system, however there needs to be some committed leadership to ensure it works by both government and iwi.
It was acknowledged that other models of working together between iwi, government and whanau such as ‘Whanau Ora’ have solidified and reinforced effective ways of engagement and when followed transformational change can occur. It is a mind shift!