Rangatahi Court opens in Tauranga

  • Te Ururoa Flavell
Whanau Ora Maori Development

Māori Development and Whānau Ora Minister Te Ururoa Flavell applauds the local Māori community and the judiciary for establishing a Kooti Rangatahi in Tauranga.
The thirteenth Rangatahi Court in the country was launched at Hairini Marae in Tauranga today.
“A large proportion of our young people who end up in the justice system are disconnected from their culture. Kooti Rangatahi offers them a unique opportunity to reconnect with their whānau, kaumātua and marae,” says Mr Flavell.
At the opening of the Kooti Rangatahi in Tauranga, Mr Flavell acknowledged Principal Youth Court Judge Andrew Beecroft, the Māori judges and kaumātua who are instrumental in establishing these courts.
The marae-based process works within the existing Youth Court framework but requires young people to stand up in a marae, in front of their whānau and their kaumātua and account for what they have done.
“This tikanga and manaaki-based process is in synch with Whānau Ora. Whānau Ora is premised on the idea that with the appropriate support in place, whānau can control their own destiny and take responsibility for their own development.
“I see many opportunities for those working in the youth justice sector to work alongside Whānau Ora collectives and commissioning agencies,” says Mr Flavell.
Responses from young people and families to Kooti Rangatahi have been overwhelmingly positive. Justice Ministry research shows rangatahi and whānau feel the process validates the mana of the young people and their whānau, while still holding them accountable and responsible.
“Ultimately we would wish for Kooti Rangatahi not to be necessary at all but as a successful model I welcome the establishment of further Kooti Rangatahi in other regions and the evolution of Kooti Whānau,” says Mr Flavell.

  • Rangatahi Courts sit in 13 locations around New Zealand.  As of 31 December 2014, 1,099 young people have had their Family Group Conference plan monitored on a marae since the first court opened in Gisborne in 2008.
  • In December 2012, the Ministry of Justice released an initial evaluation that indicated the Courts were successfully bringing whānau, hapū and iwi together with young offenders to attempt to address the underlying causes of their offending. The Courts have also help connect young Māori with positive role-models within their community. 
  • The report can be viewed here: www.justice.govt.nz/publications/global-publications/r/rangatahi-court-evaluation-of-the-early-outcomes-of-te-kooti-rangatahi/publication