A Wairarapa-based tikanga Maori programme is helping Maori offenders look towards a more positive future through getting them to better understand their past.
Service Manager Siobhan Garlick says there are around nine offenders attending, and it's hugely rewarding to see the difference the course is making in their lives.
“The bulk of offenders we see have lost their Maori identity, they know little about Maori culture and have no contact with their tribal roots. We get to them to understand and have pride in their own origins, which in turn helps them have pride in themselves.”
Siobhan says while it’s important for Maori to understand and connect with their past, it’s also vital for them to recognise the many positive things currently occurring in Maori culture.
“These offenders had opportunities previous generations didn’t and once they learn to identify and access these, there is no reason they can’t improve their lives.”
She says the programme has achieved notable changes in people’s lives.
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