Reducing Inequalities

The Government’s key goal of Reducing Inequalities is defined as:

“Reducing the inequalities that currently divide our society and offer a good future for all by better coordination of strategies across sectors and by supporting and strengthening the capacity of Maori and Pacific communities. It aims to ensure that all groups in society are able to participate fully and enjoy the benefits of improved production.”

This key goal reflects fundamental principles relating to social justice, a desire to reduce disadvantage and promote equality of opportunity in order to achieve a similar distribution of outcomes between groups, and a more equitable distribution of overall outcomes within society. This entails an integrated approach to managing the reducing inequalities policy to ensure that the goals and principles are a core part of key departmental activities and initiatives.

Addressing re-offending by Maori and Pacific offenders is a high priority for the Department. Because Maori and Pacific peoples continue to be disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system, the Department is committed to providing quality programmes and services that are effective for Maori and Pacific peoples from initial assessment through to intervention and release.

External Drivers
Maori are over represented in the corrections system, particularly in the high-risk category. Maori prisoners make up 51 percent of the total prison population, while making up 14.5 percent of the general population. Of the Maori prison population 65 percent are categorised as high risk, and of the non-Maori prison population, 43 percent are categorised as high risk. Similarly, recidivism rates for Maori are significantly higher compared with non-Maori. The table below demonstrates the re-imprisoned and reconvicted rates for a 24-month followup period for offenders released from a prison-based sentence, or who started a community-based sentence, during the period 1 April 2002 to 31 March 2003.

TABLE 23: Recidivism Rates - Maori/Non-Maori

Within 2 years of release from prison-based sentences


Re-imprisoned %

Reconvicted %










Within 2 years of starting a community-based sentence


Re-imprisoned %

Reconvicted %










The Department’s response is encapsulated in its kaupapa statement; Kotahi ano te kaupapa; ko te oranga o te iwi (There is only one purpose (to our work); it is the wellness and wellbeing of the people). To give effect to this vision, the Department has a Maori Strategic Plan 2003–2008, which outlines work in progress under three key themes of building partnerships with Maori, being effective for Maori and being responsive to Maori.

The Department is also committed to providing quality programmes and services that are effective for Pacific peoples. The recently approved Pacific Strategy 2005–2008 expresses this desire in the guiding statement adopted by the Department: namely, My strength does not come from me alone but from many.

Addressing Specific Needs
The Department’s offender management processes reflect best practice principles for reducing the risk of reoffending. This entails matching the needs of higher-risk offenders with interventions that contribute to effective and successful treatment and reintegration outcomes. Recent studies, including the evaluation of the Te Piriti Special Treatment Unit, the Montgomery House Violence Prevention Programme, and the Department’s own recidivism and treatment outcome data, confirm that being aware of the culture of offenders is critical to achieving reductions in re-offending.

Department’s Focus
The Department’s focus is encapsulated within the following key themes of its Strategic Business Plan 2003–2008:

  • Theme 1: Ensuring Effective Offender Management
  • Theme 2: Improving Responsiveness to Maori
  • Theme 3: Contributing to Reducing Re-Offending
  • Theme 4: Enhancing Capability and Capacity.

All of the initiatives under Theme 2, and specific strategies under Theme 3 and Theme 4, have been identified as contributing to reducing inequalities.

Theme 2: Improving Responsiveness to Maori

Maori are recognised by the Government as the tangata whenua o Aotearoa (indigenous people of New Zealand) and, as such, have a special status. In accepting the tangata whenua status of Maori, the right of the Crown to govern and the right of non-Maori to identify as New Zealanders is validated. The Department’s commitment to Maori is linked to the key government goals of Reducing Inequalities, Strengthening National Identity and Upholding the Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.

The Department works in partnership with Maori communities and government agencies to provide corrections services that contribute to community safety and reducing re-offending. The Department provides these services in a way that has regard to the Treaty of Waitangi.

The Department has identified the importance of addressing the needs of Maori offenders effectively. The strategies and initiatives below assist in improving the effectiveness of the Department’s range of services.

The Maori Strategic Plan 2003–2008
The purpose of the Maori Strategic Plan 2003–2008 is to align the expectations of Maori communities with the Department to improve the Department’s outcomes for Maori. It outlines opportunities to build relationships and strengthen communications between the Department and Maori, and provides guidance to services, and identifies priorities that are most likely to be effective in reducing re-offending by Maori. It consolidates initiatives that the Department has developed over time and introduces new initiatives yet to be developed.

The Maori Strategic Plan 2003–2008 is implemented though the Department’s annual business cycle. Decision making at senior management level determines which initiatives from the plan will be implemented each year. These initiatives are included in the Department’s Statement of Intent under outputs agreed with the Minister of Corrections. Implementation of the plan is included in performance agreements between the Chief Executive and general managers and then translated into the Department’s annual work programme.

Framework for Reducing Maori Offending (FReMO)
FReMO is an analytical tool designed to guide the development of policy, interventions and research and is intended to encourage departmental staff, providers and consultants to consider Maori issues to ensure that the Department contributes to reducing Maori re-offending. FReMO acknowledges that most initiatives that have had a focus or influence upon Maori have not factored in the Maori perspective, the enhancement of Tikanga Maori, or a critical analysis of mainstream literature as being crucial to successful outcomes. Rather than assuming workers in the area will automatically consider these, FReMO provides a step-by-step process that highlights each of them.

The Maori Initiatives Pathway
The Department recognises that using Maori world views as a vehicle in which to promote positive changes in offenders can work, either on its own, or when used in combination with Western psychology, and with appropriate support. Developed in 2004/05, the Maori Initiatives Pathway is a general reference tool that provides access to the Department’s range of Maori assessments, interventions, policies, and support systems, for both offenders and staff. The Maori Initiatives Pathway shows where each initiative fits within the Department’s Offender  Management Process, and provides access to further information on each respective initiative.

Management of Iwi Relationship Development
Separate Memoranda of Partnerships have been signed with Ngati Rangi in relation to the Northland Region Corrections Facility, Ngati Tuwharetoa with respect to Tongariro/Rangipo Prison and Puukaki ki te Aakitai for the Auckland Region Women’s Corrections Facility in South Auckland. The Department continues to engage with Kaitiaki in the construction and commissioning phases for facilities, including Ngati Naho, in relation to the Spring Hill Corrections Facility and Te Runanga O Otakau in relation to the Otago Region Corrections Facility. These relationships are intended to extend into the ongoing operations of these facilities as they come into service. The development of government policy on Crown–Maori Relationship Instruments and associated Treaty of Waitangi policy has informed ongoing development of iwi-level partnership arrangements.

Whanau Liaison Worker
The Whanau Liaison Worker position focuses on assisting the wellbeing, rehabilitation and effective reintegration of prisoners in Maori Focus Units and at the Northland Region Corrections Facility, through liaison with community agencies, whanau, hapu and iwi. The role of Whanau Liaison Worker was developed in consultation with the Psychological Service in late 2004.

Whanau Liaison Workers ensure that gains achieved by offenders while participating in programmes such as a Maori Therapeutic Programme are continually reinforced upon release. Consequently, Whanau Liaison Workers play a critical role in establishing links between a prisoner, their whanau, hapu, iwi, and the local Maori community to reinforce the positive changes achieved by an offender while in prison. Case Officers are responsible for referring offenders to the Whanau Liaison Worker service. Whanau Liaison Workers work directly with an offender’s whanau by putting in place strategies to resolve or manage identified reintegrative issues.

During 2004/05, the role of the Whanau Liaison Worker was consolidated by:

  • implementing the following targeting regime in order of priority:
    • Maori Focus Unit prisoners scheduled to undertake a Maori Therapeutic Programme
    • prisoners who have been imprisoned for more than five years
    • those who present with whanaurelated offences; that is, the victim is a whanau member
  • aligning the service closer to sentence management procedures
  • better coordination between Sentence Planners, Case Officers and Whanau Liaison Workers
  • establishing relevant criteria and support for the Whanau Liaison Worker role.

Whanau Liaison Workers are specialists currently employed by the Psychological Service, although the positions will transfer to the Public Prisons Service during 2005. A total of 257 prisoners may be referred to Whanau Liaison Workers per year.

Community Residential Centres
Community Residential Centres provide a residential programme in a normalised and structured environment. The objective is to resettle offenders back into the community through offering rehabilitation programmes and reintegrative services that will reduce the likelihood of further offending. There are three centres currently in operation nationwide: Montgomery House in Hamilton, Te Ihi Tu in New Plymouth and Salisbury Street in Christchurch. Te Ih Tu and Montgomery House offer a programme that incorporates Tikanga Maori-based concepts. Community Residential Centres are for high-risk offenders released from prison on parole, temporary release or ordered to serve a community-based sentence.

Whakatinana Te Kaupapa Strategy
The Whakatinana Te Kaupapa Strategy provides direction on how to improve the way the Department works with Maori providers. The Department of Corrections’ Maori Strategic Plan 2003–2008 provides the priority areas for engaging with Maori providers. Those most relevant to Whakatinana Te Kaupapa are:

  • integration of Maori world views in programmes and services, and involving Maori in service delivery
  • development of strong and meaningful partnerships with Maori communities
  • building the responsiveness of the Department.

The objectives of the strategy are to improve the effectiveness of the Department’s services to Maori and to enhance Maori participation in the delivery of services. To date, there have been no reviews of the Whakatinana Te Kaupapa Strategy because it is still too early to assess its effectiveness and implementation. A review of the Whakatinana Te Kaupapa Strategy will be conducted in 2006/07.

Tikanga Maori Programmes
Tikanga Maori programmes are motivational programmes designed to develop a sense of awareness and responsibility for an offender’s behaviour and its impact on themselves, their whanau, hapu, and iwi. Working on the regeneration of Maori identity and Maori practices, Tikanga Maori programmes equip participants with a willingness and motivation to address their rehabilitation focusing specifically on their offending behaviour. A recent addition to the core suite of programmes is the Tikanga Maori programme for women. The Community Probation Service successfully piloted the Women’s Tikanga Maori programme in the Hawke’s Bay/Gisborne and Tai Tokerau areas. In 2004/05, the Public Prisons Service delivered Tikanga Maori programmes to 824 men and 17 women. In Probation and Offender Services, 238 men and 49 women completed a Tikanga Maori programme during the year.

Maori Therapeutic Programmes
Maori therapeutic programmes are criminogenic programmes that integrate cognitive behavioural therapy and tikanga Maori concepts to facilitate change in the offending behaviour of Maori offenders. Maori therapeutic programmes build on tikanga as a means of increasing responsivity and address a range of criminogenic needs. The programmes are available at the Department’s five Maori Focus Units and at the Northland Region Corrections Facility.

Bicultural Therapy Model
The Psychological Service provides specialist clinical assessments and treatment services to offenders. The Service also develops and delivers rehabilitative programmes for three special treatment units: two for male sex offenders who have offended against children, and one for violent offenders. The referral process includes Maori serving either a prison or community-based sentence seeing a psychologist where, together, they discuss therapy goals and outcomes, and options available for Maori under the Bicultural Therapy Model. This can include working with a Psychologist, working with a Psychologist and a Maori service provider, or working solely with a Maori service provider. The Bicultural Therapy Model is available nationwide, and works in cooperation with iwi and local Maori service providers who provided a total of 3,897 hours of consultation in 2004/05.

Te Piriti Special Treatment Programme
Te Piriti is a special treatment unit aimed at providing a treatment programme for male sex offenders in order to reduce sexual re-offending against children. Key findings from an evaluation of the programme found that:

  • The Te Piriti programme was effective in reducing sexual reconviction for Maori and non-Maori men. The Te Piriti programme had a 5.47 percent recidivism rate compared with an untreated group who had a sexual recidivism rate of 21 percent.
  • Maori men attending the Te Piriti treatment programme revealed significant change pre- and posttherapy in a number of key cultural variables, including knowledge of whakapapa, mate Maori (sickness)/ makutu (curse), Maori traditional values and beliefs, knowledge of marae protocols and cultural skills.
  • The use of tikanga in combination with cognitive behavioural therapy appears to be an effective treatment programme for Maori and non-Maori offenders convicted of sexual offences against children. The total number of hours available for prisoners to attend a programme at Te Piriti is 12,500.

Specialist Maori Cultural Assessment
A Specialist Maori Cultural Assessment is intended to address responsivity and motivational barriers of high-risk Maori offenders. The interview-based assessment is undertaken by a Maori assessor. Referrals are made to the assessor by a Probation and Offender Services or Public Prisons Service contact person. Specialist Maori Cultural Assessment enhances generic assessment processes by recommending appropriate cultural interventions. An assessment report is then sent to the appropriate Probation Officer or Sentence Planner. Specialist Maori Cultural Assessments are currently available within the Probation Offender Services and Public Prisons Service in the Auckland and Waikato regions.

Maori Focus Units
Maori Focus Units are intended as rehabilitative interventions, aimed at reducing an offender’s risk of re-offending. The units function as therapeutic environments where all participants (staff and prisoners) work together to promote learning and application of the principles of tikanga to thoughts, beliefs and actions, and seek to positively influence each other towards the goal of a responsible and  pro-social life in the community. There are five Maori Focus Units based within the Public Prisons Service. They are located within Waikeria, Tongariro/Rangipo, Rimutaka, Wanganui and Hawke’s Bay prisons.

The Kaiwhakamana Visitor Policy is a voluntary support role giving kaumatua (elders) greater access to Maori prisoners. Kaumatua have access to prisons so they can support Maori prisoners. This may include:

  • advising and assisting prisoners with whanau relationships
  • helping prisoners return to the community with the support of their iwi/hapu/whanau
  • providing suggestions and advice to the Minister and the Department of Corrections on the provision of services to Maori.

Kaiwhakamana are available nationwide within the Public Prisons Service and have access to any prison in the country during normal visiting hours. They may also visit at any reasonable time outside these hours by arrangement with prison management, for example, during tangihanga (bereavements).

Kia Mau Staff Training
Kia Mau is a nationwide, three-stage cultural awareness training programme intended to increase the knowledge, understanding, and skills of Probation Offender Services staff to enable them to work more effectively with Maori offenders. Recently implemented, Kia Mau training is founded on the belief that understanding departmental responsiveness strategies, Tikanga Maori practices and Te Reo Maori, will lead to improved and enhanced working relationships with Maori offenders, their whanau and local communities. Kia Mau is delivered by internal trainers and will be delivered in the Probation Offender Services regions or areas, depending on the geographical spread of participants.

Cultural Supervision
Cultural Supervision is a forum for Maori and non-Maori Corrections staff to reflect on and enhance their interactions with Maori offenders, assisted by the cultural knowledge and expertise of a Cultural Supervisor. Cultural Supervision is delivered once a month in a group environment. The  Supervisor facilitates discussions about Maori cultural issues, and promotes the sharing of knowledge, experiences, and ideas in the group, as well as providing expert cultural knowledge to the group. Individual discussions are also available with the Supervisor. Cultural Supervision is currently available in the Canterbury and Waikato regions. Staff eligible for Cultural Supervision include Probation Officers, Sentence Planners, and Psychologists.

Chief Executive’s Maori Advisory Group
The Chief Executive’s Maori Advisory Group provides direct advice and feedback to the Chief Executive on strategic, policy and operational issues that affect Maori communities. Initiatives consulted on in the 2004/05 year included:

  • Maori Interventions Pathway
  • Maori name for the Department
  • cultural practices
  • resourcing the Northland Region Corrections Facility.

Te Reo Strategy
The Te Reo Strategy is a four-year strategy to support and encourage staff in developing their Maori language skills to enhance the Department’s effectiveness when working with Maori – iwi, hapu, and whanau, in community groups, service providers, other agencies, and with Maori offenders. The strategy contains a departmentwide action plan to ensure an appropriate environment exists to support staff in the development of Te Reo Maori. Initiatives completed in 2004/05 include development of:

  • Te Reo support tools for staff
  • Te Reo resources on intranet
  • guidelines on appropriate greetings for use by reception staff
  • investigation into the development of an appropriate Maori name for the Department.

Theme 3: Contributing to Reducing Re-Offending

One of the outcomes for the Department, and therefore a theme area, is to contribute towards an overall reduction in the level of re-offending. The following range of strategies and initiatives work to address the risks of re-offending and are designed to assist offenders to address their offending behaviours and return successfully to the community.

Pacific Strategy 2005–2008
The recently approved Pacific Strategy 2005–2008 complements the Department’s Strategic Business Plan 2003–2008. It is a stand-alone document designed to focus and direct its activities and efforts to areas most likely to produce positive outcomes for Pacific peoples in New Zealand. A new guiding statement, policy statement, and key themes have been developed to enable the Department to target resources effectively across a mix of current and new initiatives over the next three years.

Saili Matagi Pacific Violence Prevention Programme
The purpose of the Saili Matagi programme is to reduce re-offending by adult Pacific male offenders who are currently serving a sentence for offences of a violent and serious nature. The objectives of Saili Matagi are identified as:

  • assisting high-risk Pacific offenders to identify and change their beliefs, attitudes and behaviours that have resulted in violent offending
  • enhancing Pacific offenders’ responsiveness to other programmes targeting criminal behaviour (criminogenic programmes)
  • ultimately reducing intergenerational violence and the likelihood of re-offending.

The programme incorporates Western treatment components with Pacific cultural values, beliefs, and concepts that are familiar to Pacific offenders. An evaluation of Saili Matagi found that participants benefited from the content and delivery of the programme. Anecdotal evidence also found that some prison staff identified a positive ‘immediate behavioural change’ in participants during and after the programme. Implementation of the Saili Matagi programme was sound, because good working relationships were established between facilitators and prison staff.

Framework for Evaluation of Pacific Interventions
The recent development of a Pacific evaluation framework is intended to ensure, as new Pacific services are designed and implemented, that robust data is available to guide the evolving improvement of those services. The framework consists of the following four phases:

  • evaluation of the need for the programme, its design, and its fit with organisational priorities
  • evaluation of programme processes and implementation
  • evaluation of the programme’s impact and outcomes
  • evaluation of the programme’s costs and efficiency.

The framework is intended to ensure that funded Pacific-focused services will, from the first day of operation, generate data that promotes both programme integrity, that is, services delivered are closely aligned to service design and intentions, and ongoing programme improvement.

Fautua Pasefika
The Fautua Pasefika Policy, an initiative of the Department’s Pacific Strategy, enables Pacific community leader’s greater and easier access to prisons and Pacific prisoners. Fautua Pasefika support and advise on a range of issues including:

  • addressing the cultural or other special needs of a prisoner
  • providing spiritual or religious guidance or instruction to a prisoner
  • advocating on behalf of Pacific communities to the Minister and Department staff on best practice and cultural issues that will attend to the wellbeing of prisoners.

Fautua Pasefika as Specified Visitors to Prisons has been implemented and is now part of the Public Prisons Service policy and procedure.

Samoan Recruitment Initiative
During the year the Department worked with the New Zealand Immigration Service to recruit new corrections officers from Samoa as part of the overall recruitment campaign. Recruitment activity in Samoa resulted in 56 new recruits starting in the first half of 2005.

Theme 4: Enhancing Capability and Capacity

To achieve themes 2 and 3, the Department requires increased capability and capacity. Initiatives under this theme focus on ensuring the Department has in place the right resources, people, support systems, and infrastructure.

Chief Executive’s Pacific Advisory Group
This group provides direct advice and feedback to the Chief Executive on strategic, policy, and operational issues that affect Pacific communities. Issues consulted on in the 2004/05 year included:

  • proposed Pacific Focus Unit at the Spring Hill Corrections Facility
  • Fautua Pasefika
  • Pacific Community Liaison Officers
  • Pacific Peoples Regional Corrections Liaison Committee
  • development of the Pacific Strategy 2005–2008.

Pacific Community Advisory Groups
The Department continues to liaise with the Pacific Peoples Regional Corrections Liaison Committee as a main avenue for Pacific communities to contribute to the development of the new facilities in South Auckland and Waikato. The group comprises representatives from throughout the Pacific community. The issues the group provided advice on during 2004/05 included:

  • design of the Pacific Focus Unit proposed at the Spring Hill Corrections Facility
  • consultation processes with Pacific communities in Auckland
  • commissioning issues including operational and management issues relating to the new regional facilities
  • aspirations of Pacific communities in Auckland regarding the new regional facilities.

Pacific Community Liaison Officers
During the 2004/05 financial year, the Department formally established two Pacific Community Liaison Officers within the Public Prisons Service for the Auckland and Waikato regions respectively. The initiative has been established to support community participation in addressing Pacific re-offending by:

  • enhancing the Department’s responsiveness to Pacific communities
  • fully informing Pacific communities about the Department’s work
  • developing initiatives that specifically target the needs of Pacific offenders.

State Services Commission-led Ministerial Review: Race versus Needs
Race relations received increased attention over the past year. The Department came under intense scrutiny in 2004 over the amounts paid to Maori individuals and organisations during the process of consultation over the establishment of new corrections facilities in Northland, South Auckland and Waikato.

The degree to which the Department’s policies are unduly advantaging or disadvantaging Maori remains a contentious issue. The Government instituted a range of responses, including a comprehensive review of government policy. The aim of the review was to ensure that, where ethnicity was a factor in the development of policy and the delivery of services, those policy and services had a sound basis in need.

The Department’s policies and programmes subject to the review were:

  • Maori culture-related needs
  • Specialist Maori Cultural Assessment
  • Maori Therapeutic Programme
  • Saili Matagi Pacific Violence Prevention Programme
  • Maori Focus Units
  • Tikanga Maori Programme
  • Whanau Involvement Plan
  • Te Ihi Tu.

The Department cooperated fully with the review process and reviewed a range of departmental policies and services where ethnicity was a factor. Following the State Services Commission-led review, Cabinet noted and agreed, amongst other things, that the Tikanga Maori and cultural approach undertaken by the Department in these programmes are appropriate and that, upon evaluation, the Department considers using the Whanau Involvement Plan as a blueprint to supporting greater involvement of non-Maori offenders’ families throughout the corrections system. The plan is to be progressed during 2005/06 in accordance with the initiatives outlined in the Department’s 2005/06 Statement of Intent.

The Department has a well-developed rationale for the development and delivery of services to offenders based on risk, need and responsivity. Maori (and to a lesser extent Pacific peoples) are a demonstrably high-need population for the Department, based on their over-representation in the criminal justice system. The Department’s ethnically oriented programmes have been carefully tailored to meet the needs of Maori and Pacific peoples while still working within the Department’s overall approach to offender management.

2004/05 Expenditure on Reducing Inequalities

For the year ended 30 June 2005, the Department delivered a range of outputs to government for the management and rehabilitation of offenders at an actual operating cost of $605.6 million. Of this amount, $21.2 million was specifically targeted to assist with reducing re-offending by Maori. Details were as follows:

  • Maori Focus Units costing $17.0 million, of which $16.4 million was for custody and $0.6 million for programmes
  • Bicultural Therapy Model costing $0.3 million
  • Maori policy work costing $1.4 million
  • Tikanga Maori Programme costing $1.8 million
  • Whanau Liaison Service costing $0.5 million
  • other Maori programmes costing $0.2 million

The outputs delivered to Government that were not new initiatives specifically targeted at reducing reoffending by Maori cost $584.4 million. Of this amount, $284.6 million was attributable to Maori, as they comprise 48.7 percent of the offender population. Of the Maori offender population approximately 94 percent are male. A further $52.6 million was attributable to Pacific peoples as they comprise 9.0 percent of the offender population.

All of the above costs are calculated on a GST-inclusive “fully absorbed” basis in that they include both direct and overhead costs in accordance with the Public Finance Act 1989.

These financial figures are not comparable with prior years as changes have been made to the Department’s cost allocation policy in the 2004/05 financial year.