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Source: New Zealand Police (District News)

A successful initiative for dealing with crime and preventing reoffending has been launched in Taranaki.

Te Pae Oranga Iwi Community Panels are a partnership between Police and iwi/Māori around the country.

The new panel in Taranaki is the 16th in New Zealand. An event celebrating the milestone took place today [Thursday 11 March] at Aotearoa Marae in Okaiawa, South Taranaki.

Te Pae Oranga holds offenders accountable while also helping them address problems they’re facing. It’s mainly for people who have underlying issues and need help to get their lives back on track.

It is available to people of all ethnicities, from all walks of life. Victims are encouraged to take part.

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said that instead of sending people to court, the approach acts like a jump start to help them make positive changes in their lives.

“A key feature of Te Pae Oranga are the panels of local community leaders who have valuable knowledge and experience,” Commissioner Coster said.

“They support participants – people who’ve offended – to make a plan to put things right. Those plans include actions that participants must complete and conditions they must follow.”

He says as well as looking at what happened when there’s been an offence, Te Pae Oranga panels also look at the reasons why, and what’s going on in people’s lives.

“That way, the panels help put things right, understand the challenges and problems people are facing, and connect them to the right kinds of services and support.

“The programme is a fantastic example of Police and Māori working in partnership to achieve better outcomes. It also aligns with Police’s goal – echoed by many people, organisations and communities – to reduce the number of people unnecessarily entering the justice system.”

Deputy Commissioner Iwi and Communities Wally Haumaha said Te Pae Oranga is a Māori-led approach for dealing with crime that is open to – and effective for – people of all ethnicities.

“There’s sometimes a misconception that Te Pae Oranga is a soft option. It’s not. Anyone who’s seen a panel in action knows it can be a confronting experience. You have to accept responsibility, be open about your faults and problems, and ask for help from people in your community,” he said.

“It also doesn’t over-punish people who make a mistake, find themselves in difficulty or need help to deal with underlying issues.”

Deputy Commissioner Haumaha said data shows the approach works. An evaluation published in 2019 showed Te Pae Oranga reduced harm from reoffending by 22 percent.

In Taranaki, the new panel is a partnership between New Zealand Police and the eight Taranaki iwi. It is being run by Ngāruahine Iwi Authority on behalf of the Taranaki whānui. The panel members were chosen from and endorsed by the eight iwi.

Ngāruahine Iwi Authority chair Hori Manuirirangi welcomed the milestone.

“As an Iwi owned and operated service provider, Ngāruahine Iwi Authority is both humbled and privileged to be delivering Te Pae Oranga on behalf of all Iwi of Taranaki,” Mr Manuirirangi said.

“By partnering with New Zealand Police, we are excited to extend this restorative justice model across Taranaki to enhance mana motuhake in furthering the Whanau Ora desire to achieve equitable and meaningful outcomes for whanau.

“Te Pae Oranga helps do this by addressing the underlying social, cultural and behavioural contexts of offending, and truly enables and contributes to our vision of uplifted, successful, secure and nurturing whanau.”

To watch a video about Te Pae Oranga and for more information, see https://www.police.govt.nz/te-pae-oranga

ENDS

Issued by the Police Media Centre

MIL OSI