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Source: New Zealand Government

The Government has today launched Māori Pathways at Hawke’s Bay Regional Prison, a ground-breaking series of initiatives designed in partnership with Māori to reduce reoffending and improve outcomes for whānau.

Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis said the Pathways are a key part of Hōkai Rangi, and involved a number of agencies and Māori working together to target long-term change.

“Taking on the over-representation of Māori in our prisons has been a top priority for me as Minister,” Kelvin Davis said.

“This is a long term challenge, and progress is already being made.

“In three years, we have safely reduced the prison population by 19 per cent. There are over 800 fewer Māori in prison. The Māori imprisonment rate has been decreasing, and Māori reconviction and reimprisonment rates are improving.

“Those are real results, but to continue making progress we need to keep doing things differently.

“Here in Hawke’s Bay, Ngāti Kahungunu will now lead and coordinate the delivery of several new services,” Kelvin Davis said.

New Māori Pathways initiatives include:

  • A new whānau ora kaiarataki navigator workforce, in partnership with Ngāti Kahungunu, will begin working with men and their whānau in May, to support everyone to live healthy, productive and positive lives.
  • Tēnei Au: A new kaupapa Māori approach developed by Māori experts and practitioners in tikanga and trauma informed care. Tēnei Au began this month and includes new approaches to healing trauma and to help connect men to their whānau and local iwi, underpinned by mātauranga Māori.
  • New staff roles at Corrections have been created, including Pou Tikanga and Pou Arahi. Four probation officers will also work with Māori Pathways participants alongside a Principal Advisor to provide a kaupapa Māori lens for probation officers.
  • New roles at the Ministry of Social Development. Three highly specialised case managers based in Hawke’s Bay will help men and their whānau on the Pathways access social support and employment services.                 
  • A new way of operating at the Prison. To guide the Pathways work, 39 new actions and initiatives will be trialled, tested and evaluated this year with more planned for next year. 
  • Building on what works. Strengthening and expanding existing Mauri Tū Pae rehabilitation programmes and tikanga programmes.

Whānau Ora Minister Peeni Henare said whānau sharing their experience of prison has played a crucial part in ensuring efforts are focused in the right places.

“Kaiarataki navigators will play a critical role as advocates, supporters and guides for whānau in the Corrections system,” Peeni Henare said.

“We know our most positive changes come through people, not systems, and navigators are key to providing the right package of support.

“This is part of extending the Whānau Ora approach into other agencies and working alongside the individual and their whānau to improve outcomes for Māori,” Peeni Henare said.  

Social Development and Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni said the pressures on tāne and their whānau will be eased by strengthening how services are delivered with case managers committed to providing the relevant support.

“These case managers will work closely with the kaiarataki navigators, prison staff, and whānau to ensure we set these men up for success as they progress through the Pathways and then step back into their whanau and community lives,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

The Māori Pathways in Hawke’s Bay will initially be offered to Māori men in high security, with priority for those who are under 30-years-old, as they have among the highest recidivism rates.

The Pathways will be used to inform new ways of working nationally and in other regions.

At least 45 men will be participating at any one time, with numbers increasing as men are transferred to low security or are released.

MIL OSI