Speech Notes Of Tariana Turia At Corrections Hui
Hon Tariana Turia
Associate Minister of Maori Affairs
Associate Minister of Corrections
9.00am, Wednesday, 29 March 2000
Kia ora Tatau
It is often said that there should be only ‘one justice system for all’.
1. Any talk of parallel or alternative justice systems, whether for Mäori or any other group, is often countered by the argument that the system of justice we have, works well and treats us all equally.
2. There is also raised the fear of separatism. This fear of being separate or is it really "different" is rarely raised by whanau, hapu and iwi. There is a fear that by daring to articulate diversity and difference whanau, hapu and iwi are attempting to create an advantage for themselves. That is not the case, Na reira tena koutou nga mana whenua i whakatau i a matau i tenei ata, tena hoki koutou nga mata waka o te motu..
3. You only have to sit in on your local District Court or High Court and observe the cases that pass through them each day to realise very quickly, that our chances of appearing as a defendant in either situation, will be hugely influenced by our gender, our class position, our age and, of course, our ethnicity.
4. Research undertaken both here and overseas suggests that the type and length of our sentence can also be influenced by the colour of our skin.
5. The research also shows that we Maori like other indigenous people in Australia, Canada, and the United States including Hawaii, are incarcerated disproportionately in gaols.
6. We need to ask some very serious questions.
Are indigenous people inherently criminally inclined? What is the common feature with all these indigenous groups? Who has the power in the country of these indigenous people? Who defines what should be?
7. To accept the validity of the earlier statement about ‘one justice system for all’, we would have to also accept that there is only one way to achieve justice and re-establish social harmony.
8. Quite clearly, this is not the case.
9. We as whanau, hapu and iwi have our own laws and legal system and our own philosophies of justice.
10. As a result, we have our own programmes and practices aimed at dealing with the offending of members of our whanau, hapu and iwi.
11. Like any social grouping the society within which we find whanau, hapu and iwi will, as all societies have done, adapt the practices of one age to suit the changes, which that society has undergone over a period of time.
12. Whanau, hapu and iwi have always done this and we in the Labour Party advocate 'by Maori for Maori initiatives which we know to be successful', particularly if they are resourced properly. We also know that 'results are best where indigenous people are able to determine their own way forward and set their own priorities'.
13. It is clear that the philosophical, theoretical or tikanga bases of whanau, hapu and iwi approaches hold many similarities to what is referred to today, as Restorative Justice.
14. Whanau, hapu and iwi justice, and restorative justice-based approaches attempt to deal with offending by:
including the wider ‘community’ and includes the whänau, hapu and iwi in the justice process;
by not imparting a sense of guilt. (It may be of interest for you to know that there is no word for guilt in the Maori language. This has implications for any whanau, hapu and iwi system of justice.)
seeking to reintegrate the offender back into the, whänau, hapü and iwi, rather than socially isolating them, although this is always an option;
seeking to find the root causes of an individual's offending, rather than concentrating on the actual offence and its consequences alone; and
giving the whanau, hapu and iwi of those offended against, a significant voice in the justice process.
15. At present whanau, hapu and iwi are having to deal with a justice system that, while beginning to take heed of whanau, hapu, iwi and restorative justice-based approaches, is still predicated on the desire to punish, to exclude and to brand, offenders. The referendum completed at the last election is just such an example.
16. In effect, whanau, hapu and iwi continue to live under a social and economic system that excludes them, their values, and beliefs. The justice system, is a sub system of that wider system.
17. When members of whanau, hapu and iwi offend they are included, but their values and beliefs are still excluded.
18. The rates of offending, victimisation and imprisonment have always been of concern to whanau, hapu and iwi. The recent hikoi of the people of Taranaki to visit sites of imprisonment and punishment within Te Waipounamu is testament to the type of justice they have had to endure.
19. We know that these ancestors of Parihaka were incarcerated for pulling up survey pegs as the colonial and settler interests enforced compulsory and illegal dispossession of whanau, hapu and iwi land.
20. Whanau, hapu and iwi are moving to rectify this situation.
21. Increasingly, we are seeing whanau, hapu and iwi philosophies and practices of justice reflected in various work programmes across both the youth and adult justice sectors.
22. Examples of this development include the adult diversion pilot project at Hoani Waititi marae in West Auckland, the continuation of Mahi Tahi’s New Life Akoranga prison rehabilitation programme and the Mau Rakau programme run by Mita Mohi on Mokoia Island
23. The Government has signalled its commitment to extending the use of restorative justice-based initiatives in its Party manifesto.
24. Policies that were flagged and that are currently being developed include: piloting comprehensive restorative justice schemes as alternatives to imprisonment (HPH); and encouraging the use of more arts and culture based rehabilitation programmes in prisons.
The Government has also opened the possibilities for whanau, hapü and iwi to further develop their justice programmes by signalling that it will:
expand the role of Mäori organisations, ethnic, and community groups in addressing the causes and consequences of offending by Mäori, and rehabilitating those offenders.
We are unlikely to begin to deal effectively with the negative effects of Mäori offending and imprisonment, until our society addresses the historical and contemporary effects of post colonial trauma which I believe whanau, hapu and iwi are suffering.
We as a society must recognise the accumulative inter generational systemic abuse Maori have been subjected to.
We will not begin to construct effective crime prevention and intervention initiatives until we allow whanau, hapü and iwi to develop their programmes, based on their own restorative justice principles and practices.
I need to say that any programme which expects tikanga to remedy the ills which have befallen whanau, hapu and iwi is doomed to fail if it does not consider the historical and contemporary socio economic context of Maori since first colonial contact.
It is my belief that the macro social and economic issues affecting whanau, hapu and iwi need to be addressed. The Government of which I am a member intends doing just that.
The issues are more than just whanau, hapu and iwi programmes, it is about a society examining its values, its beliefs and its soul.
"We need to examine alternate values not, alternate technologies of punishment".
In conclusion I am reminded that whanau, hapu and iwi never determine the kawa and tikanga of other whanau, hapu and iwi. To do so would be to breach tikanga and to set in train a series of negative consequences which will disrupt the relationships we have with each other.
I look forward therefore to a time where whanau, hapu and iwi can discuss and vigorously debate the principles and values of restorative justice and doing it the whanau, hapu and iwi way.
It is a way of hope
articulated in our policy document He Putahitanga Hou which
states, and I quote:
"Labour accepts the Treaty of Waitangi as New Zealand's founding document and as the basis of constitutional government in New Zealand". Na reira, kia ora tatau.