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Borrows welcomes new Christchurch Rangatahi Court

Borrows welcomes new Christchurch Rangatahi Court

Courts Minister Chester Borrows has heralded the establishment of a new Rangatahi Court at Ngā Hau e Whā Marae in Christchurch as a positive step for addressing youth offending in Christchurch.

Rangatahi Courts operate within the existing youth court model, but allow court sessions to monitor the progress of court-convened Family Group Conferences to be held at the marae rather than at the courthouse.

“Everyone in the youth justice sector recognises that we need to tailor the way we respond to youth offending to the circumstances of each particular young offender,” says Mr Borrows.

“For young Māori who offend, helping to reconnect them with their iwi, hapū and marae community can be a powerful tool to help them find a life free of crime.

The first Rangatahi court was established in Gisborne in 2008 by Youth Court Judge Hemi Taumanu, with 12 currently operate in North Island. The Christchurch Rangatahi Court will be the first in the South Island.

“Rangatahi courts do not differ from the normal legal framework that operates in our youth courts, but run those processes in a place and with a tikanga that is more meaningful to young Māori.

“Requiring young offenders to stand up in their Marae, in front of their kuia and kaumātua, and account for what they have done and how they are putting it right, is a daunting yet powerful experience for the young person.

“Just as important is the support that is then available as their Marae community takes responsibility for helping that young person back onto the right track.

“I want to congratulate Judge Taumanu and Principle Youth Court Judge Andrew Becroft, who have driven the successful expansion of the Rangatahi court programme, and thank them once more for their commitment to helping our young people who have lost their way,” says Mr Borrows.


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