April 28, 2021
Maori Pathways first step on prison change
Ngāti Kahungunu Incorporated chair Ngahiwi Tomonana says the new Māori Pathways programme at Hawke’s Bay Regional Prison marks a shift from mainstreaming to Māori-streaming.
In a partnership with Corrections, Ngāti Kahungunu is coordinating several new services including supplying navigators to work with prisoners at high risk of reoffending and their whānau, and a new tikanga-driven approach to healing trauma and connecting men to their whānau and local iwi.
Mr Tomoana says it’s a turning point for the way prisons are run, building on the work done by people like Moana Jackson and Sir Pita Sharples.
He says with more than half the population in male prisons being Māori, and 70 percent in women’s prisons, services should reflect the cultural and social needs of inmates and their communities.
"This should be natural when you look at the demographic in there. Instead we bring in foreigners, South Africans, English to run our prisons where the answers lie right within our tikanga, with our own hapū and our own kawa. That's what we're trying to implement," he says.
To critics who say Māori Pathways is too limited with its focus on young high security prisoners, Mr Tomoana says Ngāti Kahungunu is taking a long term view.
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