Source: New Zealand Police (National News)
In 2018 the Maori King unveiled the launch of Te Pae Oranga (Iwi Panels) as a model way of addressing the significant issues experienced by Maori in the Criminal Justice System.
“The King has spoken through the COVID Response that the wellbeing of the people is paramount, and this includes Maori in the Justice System. Ensuring government agencies partner with Iwi is one way to determine better solutions for Maori,” Mr Ngira Simmonds, Chief of Staff commented on behalf of the King.
The results of Te Pae Oranga across 15 locations attached to major Iwi organisations with excellent whanau ora services has been significant.
The stories of victims being able to express themselves in an open and safe environment while holding offenders to account was one of the unique features of Iwi Panels.
The levels of facilitation, compassion and understanding is something both victims and offenders spoke highly of while still being treated firmly but fairly.
Mr Simmonds added “King Tuheitia is patron of the programme and was heartened to see the shift of eight panels in 2018 to 16 in 2021, a unique model of administering justice, with the launch of the new panel in Taranaki this week.”
The expansion of the programme exemplifies the success of Te Pae Oranga, by including natural elements of Tikanga, which has not only worked for Maori but for all peoples who have gone through Te Pae Oranga.
Feedback from people who’ve taken part in the programme has been positive.
As one participant shared: “… from what I’ve seen, I’m impressed … I believe that the panel is going to grow, and [that] they’re going to make a positive impact on the community … that this is an answer.”
The new panel launched this week 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.
Te Pae Oranga expresses the notion of the paepae – a place for expressing and listening to differing views and Oranga indicating a focus on wellbeing.
The panels were created with the aim of doing things differently to reduce Maori offending and victimisation, and is available to people of all ethnicities, from all walks of life.
And as one participant related: “I picked up the positive vibes and the welcoming environment a lot, and I thrive off it … I’ve clung onto that feeling [and it] was the start of something for me, which has just been what I’ve been riding on … this whole thing for me was just such a big connection back into my culture … I think it’s kind of what I needed.”
To watch a video about Te Pae Oranga and for more information, visit the Police website.
Issued by Police Media Centre