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Minister welcomes evaluation of Nga Kooti Rangatahi

19 December 2012

Press Release

Minister welcomes evaluation of Nga Kooti Rangatahi

Minister of Maori Affairs, Hon. Dr. Pita Sharples has welcomed the findings of the “Evaluation of the early outcomes of Nga Kooti Rangatahi”, which points to early signs that rangatahi courts are on track and are providing a supportive and engaging environment in which to address youth offending.

Dr. Sharples who attended the launch of the evaluation by Hon Chester Borrows at Hoani Waititi marae this morning said “I am pleased that an evaluation has been undertaken early on in the development of these marae based rangatahi courts. It allows us to understand the way in which these courts work, and ensure that when we measure outcomes, we are looking not only at recidivism rates which will come in the future, but also the wider engagement, participation and wellbeing of the whanau.”

“While these courts are aimed primarily at the youth, it is very pleasing to see that whanau felt actively engaged in the court process, and some even felt more supported in their role as parents.”

“I am a long-time advocate of marae based youth courts, which hark back to the restorative justice programmes that were established in the early 1980’s.” said Dr. Sharples. “It is not an easy option for youth. To be eligible for this process, a young person must first take responsibility for the offence that they have committed, and work with their whanau and wider community on a programme of action which both focuses on reparation for the offence committed, and repair of the offender to ensure that reoffending does not occur.”

“The evaluation found that these courts were not only operating within accepted best practice and according to national operating guidelines, but also that they facilitated a process for youth to connect with their cultural identity, the marae community and positive role models. It is my view that ensuring a strong connection to whanau and identity, alongside developing adequate support structures within the whanau and community are critical to reducing recidivism. So I welcome the news that these courts are on track to provide this support to our youth.”

“Although these are formal courts, supporting these processes to take place on a marae bring into it another element, tikanga maori, and whanau participation become a critical part of the process. The whanau are expected to be involved throughout the entire proceedings, and it is both a means of ensuring that the young person is supported, but also that whanau are taking responsibility.”

Dr. Sharples said “It is clearly a form of Whanau Ora, where the whanau are actively engaged and involved in the process.”

“I welcome the findings of the report, and I thank the Minister, Hon. Chester Borrows, for launching this report here on our marae Hoani Waititi.”


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