Our priorities

Our Hōkai Rangi strategy focuses on six key areas for change:

  • Partnership and leadership
  • Humanising and healing
  • Whānau
  • Incorporating a Te Ao Māori worldview
  • Whakapapa
  • Foundations for participation

Partnership and leadership

Ara Poutama Aotearoa will lead through best-practice Crown–Māori relations and have authentic shared decision-making at key levels – and design that with Māori. This will include the way it supports and delivers a holistic, integrated, sector-wide response.

Humanising and healing

Ara Poutama Aotearoa will be a values led organisation. Our staff will treat those in our care and management with respect, upholding their mana and dignity. No-one will be further harmed or traumatised by their experiences with us. Upon release, the support they have received will leave them equipped with the skills, self-respect, and resilience to live healthy and sustainable lives, and not return to the justice system. We will continue to support them through their transition back into the community.

Our systems and environments will not cause further unnecessary stress to people who are already experiencing hardship through having their liberty deprived and being separated from their whānau. We will recognise and encourage the dreams and aspirations of people in our care and management, and their whānau.


Where they are willing, whānau will be supported to walk alongside Māori in our care and management on their rehabilitation and reintegration journey. These whānau will be supported in this by our staff. Ara Poutama Aotearoa will proactively communicate with whānau Māori, involve them, and keep them close and connected to those in our care and management. We will streamline communication processes so whānau can contact those in our care.

We will work across relevant sector agencies, whānau, hapū, iwi, and other relevant parties to foster healthy, sustainable, and stable whānau relationships – focusing on the wellbeing of whānau to achieve the wellbeing of the person in our care and management.

We will recognise that whānau extends beyond the nuclear family and is inclusive of extended family, kaupapa family, hapū and iwi, and others who are not kin but have a shared sense of whānau identity around a particular kaupapa. Where no obvious whānau support is available, we will support people to make pro-social connections in the community.

Incorporating a Te Ao Māori worldview

Access to culture is a fundamental right, not a privilege, regardless of a person’s circumstances such as security classification, behaviour, gang affiliation, gender or therapeutic needs. We must prioritise, embed, and protect mātauranga Māori to innovate and improve what we do. We will keep what currently works, but kaupapa Māori-based approaches will be the foundation of our practice, processes, and pathways.

Kaupapa Māori spaces and programmes will be embedded within all facilities and will be available to all Māori in our care and management. Whanaungatanga will guide us to ensure those in our care will be kept near their home, whānau, whakapapa, and whenua. Staff will embody and promote our values and be empowered and supported to have culturally appropriate interactions with Māori.

Rangatahi, wāhine, and tāne will have access to tailored services delivered by the right people, with the right skills. These will be designed and delivered by Māori, for Māori. Ara Poutama Aotearoa will enable and resource Māori to develop new approaches and evaluation criteria. Through these evaluation methods, we will help contribute to a growing evidence base of what works for Māori.


We recognise that whakapapa can be the beginning of healing and wellbeing.

Ara Poutama Aotearoa will create a safe environment for Māori to share and/ or learn about their identity. We will proactively enable Māori in our care and management to strengthen and/ or maintain their cultural identity, their connection to people and place, and their sense of belonging. We will partner with marae, hapū, iwi, and Māori service providers, and work with whānau to design, deliver, and expand support systems and our programmes.

Foundations for participation

To lead a healthy and sustainable life, people in our care and management and their whānau need to have their basic needs met and the relevant tools for full participation in society. Prior to release, those in our care will receive the support they require.

We will also work with other agencies and organisations to ensure their whānau are also supported. We will explore opportunities with other agencies and organisations to enable people to have a chance at self determination through employment, including self-employment. We will create an environment that improves the ability of people in our care to transition back into society upon release.