An attempt to address Māori reoffending rates launched

The biggest problem with Māori imprisonment levels is that too many Māori get involved in crime in the first place.

People identifying as Māori make up about 15% of the new Zealand population, but just over half of those in prison are Māori.

Ethnicity of Prisoners (March 2019)

However it is very difficult to deal with problems before they manifest themselves as criminal activities.  High recidivism rates are also a major problem.

Corrections: Re-imprisonment rates by ethnicity

The re-imprisonment rate over 48 months for Maori offenders (55%) is considerably higher than the rate for both NZ Europeans (45%) and Pacific offenders (36%).


Overall recidivism rates are bad, but especially so for Māori

So the Government are trying to break the cycle of Māori reoffending and imprisonment with a new plan. It will take time to tell how effective it will be, but different ways of addressing the problem have to be tried to try and turn things around.

Announced yesterday:

A whānau-centred pathway to break the cycle of Māori reoffending

The Government has today announced it is taking action on the long-term challenge of Māori reoffending rates and delivering on its target to reduce the prison population by 30 per cent, with the creation of a new Māori Pathway at Hawke’s Bay Regional Prison and Northland Region Corrections Facility.

This initiative will be co-designed and implemented by Māori, with Corrections, Te Puni Kōkiri, and the Ministry for Social Development (MSD) working together in partnership with hapū and iwi. It will initially focus on Māori men under 30 years of age, as this group has the highest reconviction and reimprisonment rates. The Pathway will enable people to experience a kaupapa Māori and whānau-centred approach for all of their time with Corrections, from pre-sentence to reintegration and transition in their community.

Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says the $98 million Wellbeing Budget investment is a major first step in changing the way Corrections operates to help break the cycle of Māori reoffending and imprisonment.

“We are acknowledging that our system does not work for the majority of Māori. The answer is not another programme. This is a new pathway for people in prison and their whānau to walk together. This is a system change and a culture change for our prisons – and that change starts today,” Kelvin Davis said.

“The Māori Pathway delivers on a number of our Government’s priorities. It’s about reducing reoffending so there are fewer victims of crime, building closer partnerships with Māori, and enabling us to keep delivering on our target to reduce the prison population by 30 per cent.

“This is a great example of the Wellbeing approach in action, with a number of agencies working together to target long-term change.”

Whānau Ora Minister Peeni Henare acknowledges his colleagues Kelvin Davis and Carmel Sepuloni for being bold and taking a whānau-centred approach to their mahi.

“This is real progress towards incorporating Whānau Ora into their portfolios and agencies, extending Government support and buy-in to the Whānau Ora approach, as recommended by Tipu Mātoro ki te Ao,” Peeni Henare said.

“Whānau Ora successfully supports positive outcomes for whānau because it recognises the power of the collective and promotes self-determination. It is a holistic and strengths-based approach, allowing whānau to define and work towards their own aspirations. This is an important step for Government to improve whānau wellbeing.”

Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni says MSD is committed to supporting the person and their whānau to achieve their goals.

“This is an exciting initiative which aligns with recommendations in the Welfare Expert Advisory Group’s report to improve outcomes for Māori and enhance support for people in prisons,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

Leave a comment


  1. NOEL

     /  11th May 2019

    Originally there was going to be separate prisons which had National playing the race privilege card.
    Same with this one..
    Only concern I have is Whanau Ora. Use in another contexts has drawn claims it’s difficult to measure outcomes.
    Maybe those good at oratory and waving the carved walking stick could could attend less time at huis and more at mentoring.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  11th May 2019

      One of the ones around here who does that committed incest with his daughter/s. I knew one of his daughters who was also his grand-daughter, and she was a lovely person. She ended up becoming severely mentally ill and died young. What a heritage for the poor girl. Meanwhile dad/granddad is still a kaumatua. The dirty bugger should have been behind bars.

  2. Corky

     /  11th May 2019

    Waste-of-time…and taxpayer money, too. Add legalised herb to the mix..and that’s all she wrote.

  3. Maggy Wassilieff

     /  11th May 2019

    So these folks have yet to design the initiative, but the Government knows how much money to allocate to the scheme.

    Doesn’t seem a very economic way to go about matters.
    Surely a project should have been designed/ trialled and costed before $98M was committed to it.

    I suspect a grand proportion of the $98M will fail to transform into tangible prisoner reform.

    • Duker

       /  11th May 2019

      Its just existing money used in running costs for these 2 prisons , just packaged differently with a new name.

  4. David

     /  11th May 2019

    Oh goody another well paid working group.
    Surprised there is the capacity given the workload implementing nothing from the tax group, 3 from the welfare group, nothing from the mental health group. Its a busy year of delivery.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  11th May 2019

      I can make an educated bet as to which names will appear on any ‘consulation with local iwi’ in the Waikato.

  5. Trevors_elbow

     /  11th May 2019

    How about senior Maori leaders stand up and say crime is tapu? How about not saying stupid things like Gangs are just another whanau? How about getting tough on juvenile crime and segregate the kids from the hard core gangsters in jail so they dont get sucked into gangs orb out of a desire not to get the shot kicked out of them?
    How about stopping the blaming everyone else cultural that gives a sense of grievance and entitlement?

    Instead we get another pathway… well let’s hope it works… but given the Coalitiin governments allergy to targets and measuring outcomes how will we know if it makes a difference?

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  11th May 2019

      One problem is that some crimes will make it very difficult for the person to find work. Most of them would, I suppose. I wonder how many people would like to know that the person painting their house had convictions for burglary. It would put me off employing them. I would rather not have them doing anything round my house. That may be unfair, but I can’t help it.

    • Duker

       /  11th May 2019

      Nationals targets was either easy ones or aspirational so didn’t count. In other cases once they could see the 5 yr target wasn’t going to be met…just after 4 years come up with a new target which is of course another 5 years away.
      It was those asiine targets which was the pathway to the census debacle…they had both a public service wide target to reduce admin costs by say 2% per year( in some agencies they just stopped enforcement instead) and say another target to increase digital engagement by say 5% per year..for a census every 5 years those add up to a stuff up. But but but …they met their targets!

  1. An attempt to address Māori reoffending rates launched — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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