Govt spends $98m on kaupapa Māori approach to tackle reoffending

By Jessica Tyson

The government has announced it will invest $98 million into a kaupapa Māori approach to tackle Māori reoffending.

Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says the investment is a major first step in changing the way Department of Corrections operates.

He says it will provide a pathway for people to experience a kaupapa Māori and whānau-centred approach for all of their time with the Department of Corrections, from pre-sentence to reintegration and transition into the community.

According to the Department of Corrections, Māori make up 50 per cent of New Zealand's prison population, despite only accounting for 15 per cent of the population.

“We are acknowledging that our system does not work for the majority of Māori. This is a system and culture change for our prisons. It’s a new pathway for people in prison and their whānau to walk together,” says Davis.

The funding will initially focus on Māori men under 30 years of age, the highest reconviction and reimprisonment rates.

The investment includes $35 million over four years to apply a Whānau Ora approach to reduce reoffending and improve whānau outcomes and wellbeing.

Whānau Ora Minister Peeni Henare says, “We tend to forget that people in prison have whānau at home. Whānau Ora supports the mana of whānau by assisting them to set goals and navigate them to services and support they need while maintaining the links between whānau members.”