The Hāpaitia legacy

Safe and Effective Justice - the Hāpaitia legacy

In 2018, as part of the Hāpaitia project, we began working on long term solutions to improve community safety and the way justice works.

What did we learn*?

We have one of the highest imprisonment rates in the OECD, and it's continuing to grow.
  • There are around 220 people in prison per 100,000 New Zealanders, compared to the OECD average of around 147 prisoners per 100,000 people.
Māori are overrepresented at every stage in the criminal justice system.
  • Māori are 38% of people proceeded against by Police, 42% of people convicted, and 50% of people in prison.
  • This is despite Māori being only approximately 15% of the New Zealand population.
Our reoffending rates are high.
  • Around 60% of people are reconvicted within 2 years following release from prison.
  • Around 42% are re-imprisoned after 2 years following release from prison.
Most people that are in the criminal justice system have been abused.
  • 53% of women and 15% of men in prison have experienced a sexual assault.
  • 77% of people in prison have been victims of violence.

We knew we needed to do better than this.

So what did we do?

We held a Criminal Justice Summit to listen to ideas and have a fresh conversation about what you want from our criminal justice system.

We began involving and building partnerships with Māori, community groups and business so we could collaborate and design long-term solutions that work for future generations.

Read the information release about the Criminal Justice Summit

See an archive of the Hāpaitia te Oranga Tangata website [LINK]

Read FAQs about Hāpaitia [LINK]

*Figures are from the Ministry of Justice and the Department of Corrections.

So where to now?

All justice agencies will continue the process of change that the Hāpaitia programme sought to initiate through its public engagement.  They can be expected to increasingly re-focus their activities in the direction Hāpaitia has set.  This means working towards a system that:

  • treats all people with humanity, dignity, respect and compassion
  • recognises the mana inherent in all people and communities
  • enables the restoration of that mana whenever it has been diminished
  • works with communities to help build resilience among families, whānau and communities to prevent crime and keep all people safe.

It is likely to take up to a generation before the vision that has emerged through the Hāpaitia engagement can be fully realised.  However, a good start has been made with initiatives including, among many other things:

  • The New Zealand Police run the initiative Te Pae Oranga (Iwi Community Panels), which is a nationally coordinated partnership with iwi Māori providers across 11 Police districts to address low-level offending
  • The judicially-led Te Ao Mārama, which is a new model for the District Court that will enable more solution-focussed courts, that better partner with Māori and the community and includes court pilots, such as the Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Court, the Rangatahi Court, and the Family Violence Court.
  • Ara Poutama Aotearoa – Department of Corrections new strategic direction, represented through Hōkai Rangi, which seeks to innovate to find new and alternative ways of doing things to achieve better outcomes with Māori and their whānau
  • The Joint Venture on Family Violence and Sexual Violence, which is a whole of Government response made up of 10 Government agencies working on the prevention and elimination of family and sexual violence.

Additional initiatives that change the way investment decisions are made, that make changes to policy and practice, that change legislation and that build on the good start that has been made can be expected in the future.