The Government has today launched Māori Pathways at Northland Region Corrections Facility, a ground-breaking series of initiatives designed in partnership with Māori to reduce re-offending and improve outcomes for whānau.
A key part of the Hōkai Rangi strategy, Māori Pathways looks to achieve long-term change and involves a number of agencies and iwi, hapū and Māori service providers working together, said Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis.
“I knew when I became the Minister of Corrections that we needed to do things differently for Māori, especially in the Corrections system.
“One of my top priorities as the Minister is the over-representation of Māori in our prisons, and what we can do to change this sad reality.”
Since its peak the prison population has been safely reduced by 24 per cent. There are now 1000 fewer Māori in prison, while Māori reconviction and reimprisonment rates are improving.
“It is great to see these results, but in order to continue effecting change, we need to keep doing things differently,” said Kelvin Davis.
Paiheretia te Muka Tāngata – Uniting the Threads of Whānau is woven throughout the Māori Pathways kaupapa, and draws on the strengths of the Whānau Ora approach to improve outcomes for whānau engaged with the Corrections system.
Jointly led by Te Puni Kōkiri, Corrections, and the Ministry of Social Development, Paiheretia is focused on partnering with local Māori communities, hapū and iwi Māori to:
create the conditions for whānau ora through kaupapa Māori and whānau-centred approaches,
establish a Kaiarataki Navigator service to support whānau to navigate the system, and to maintain links between whānau members,
build the cultural capacity and capability of Corrections frontline practitioners to better engage and support whānau,
establish integrated service case managers to support whānau to engage in meaningful employment and other MSD social support services.
Work has also begun on an ambitious programme to test how tikanga and strengths based, kaupapa Māori led services can be at the heart of working with prisoners.
This will be supported by creating therapeutic spaces and developing staff to work in a te ao Māori way.
The Māori Pathways in Northland will initially be offered to Māori men with priority for those who are under 30-years-old, as they have among the highest recidivism rates.
Alongside the Pathways Programmes underway in Hawkes Bay and Christchurch Women’s Prison, the work in Northland will inform new ways of working across the country.
At least 45 men will be participating at any one time, with numbers increasing as new initiatives are further introduced into NRCF and community corrections.