The move towards lowering the proportion of Māori in Corrections care to match the Māori share of the general population took another positive step today. Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis launched Hōkai Rangi designed to address the long-term challenge of Māori reoffending and imprisonment. The minister says the biggest change Hōkai Rangi brings is the idea that we are now going to treat the person - and not just their crime.
Minister Davis says the status quo is no longer acceptable when it comes to Māori incarceration.
"The biggest difference with this strategy is that it was written by Māori for Māori.", Davis said.
Corrections are actively partnering with iwi. Wherever there is a prison, the expectation is there will be a strong partnership with mana whenua.
Topia Rameka of Ngāti Tuwharetoa and a member of the advisory panel for this strategy says, "It is only right that the relationship between the crown, the department of corrections and mana whenua is strong throughout the whole country."
Hōkai Rangi will be implemented over the five-year period from 2019-2024 and contains a series of short and medium-term actions. CEO of Corrections Christine Stevenson says, its one strategy for all.
Stevenson says, "What works for Māori actually works for the general population. And so there really wasnt much point in having a Māori strategy and a general strategy. It has to be the one thing and that is what Corrections now has to deliver on."
Davis says our Corrections system has not worked for the majority of Māori. We've all seen the statistics.
Davis also says, the over-representation of Māori in our prisons is devastating to whānau, hapū, and iwi. Our Government is committed to taking action to fix this with Hōkai Rangi.