Reducing Inequalities Report 2005/06

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 Māori 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 of reducing inequalities are a core part of key departmental activities and initiatives.

Addressing re-offending by Māori and Pacific offenders is a high priority for the Department. As Māori 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 Māori and Pacific peoples from initial assessment through to intervention and release.

External Drivers

The Department's Recidivism Index, supported by the Offender Management Process, indicates that Māori offenders are disproportionately represented in the target group of high-risk re-offending.

Māori are over-represented in the corrections system and particularly in the high-risk category. Māori prisoners make up 49.9% of the total prison population while making up 14.5% of the general population. Of the Māori prison population, 23.8% are categorised as high-risk (with risk scores higher than 0.7) compared with the 19.1% for the non-Māori prison population. Similarly recidivism rates for Māori are significantly higher compared with non-Māori as demonstrated in the following tables:

FIGURE26: 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 anā 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 Māori Strategic Plan 2003-2008, which outlines work in progress under three key themes of building partnerships with Māori, being effective for M??ori and being responsive to Māori.

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: My strength does not come from me alone but from many.

Addressing Specific Needs

The Department has implemented new offender management processes that reflect best practice principles for reducing the risk of re-offending. 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 a tikanga Māori approach to programme delivery promotes an environment that motivates prisoners to address their offending behaviours, support their reintegration activities and reduce their reoffending.

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 Māori
  • Theme 3: Contributing to Reducing Re-Offending, and
  • Theme 4: Enhancing Capability and Capacity.

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

Theme 2: Improving Responsiveness to Māori

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

The development of government policy on Crown-Māori Relationship Instruments (CMRI) and associated Treaty of Waitangi policy has informed ongoing development of iwi level partnership arrangements. The partnership that has been established with Ngati Rangi in respect of the Northland Region Corrections Facility continues to develop. Two contracts for the delivery of services to support the Department's initiatives in Northland are being progressed. The partnership with the Tuwharetoa Māori Trust Board has enabled the Department to progress new construction projects at Tongariro/Rangipo Prison. Cabinet approval of the Crown-Māori Relationships Instruments policy on 8 May 2006 has simplified the approvals process for new partnership agreements. Partnership agreements are currently being progressed with Poutini Ngai Tahu (West Coast South island), Te Runanga o Tupoho (Whanganui), Pukaki ki te Akitai (Auckland Region Women's Corrections Facility) , Ngati Naho (Spring Hill Corrections Facility) and Te Runanga o Otakou (Otago Region Corrections Facility) are now able to be completed.

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

The Māori Strategic Plan 2003/2008

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

The Māori 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 Statements 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 Māori 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 Māori issues to ensure that the Department contributes to reducing M??ori offending. FReMO acknowledges that most initiatives that have had a focus or influence upon M??ori have not factored in the M??ori perspective, the enhancement of tikanga Māori, or a critical analysis of mainstream literature as being crucial to successful outcomes. Rather than assuming workers in the area will automatically consider these areas, FReMO provides a step-by-step process that highlights each of these key areas.

The Māori Initiatives Pathway

The Department recognises that using Māori worldviews 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 Māori Initiatives Pathway is a general reference tool that provides access to the Department's range of Māori assessments, interventions, policies, and support systems, for both offenders and staff. Available on the Department's local area network (Corrnet), the Māori Initiatives Pathway shows where each initiative fits within the Department's Offender Management Process, and provides a hyperlink to access further information on each respective initiative.

Whānau Liaison Workers

The Whānau Liaison Worker position focuses on assisting the wellbeing, rehabilitation and effective reintegration of prisoners in Māori Focus Units and at the Northland Region Corrections Facility, through liaison with community agencies, whānau, hapū  and iwi. The role of the whānau Liaison Worker was developed in consultation with the Psychological Service in late 2004, after the pilot in 2003.

The Whānau Liaison Worker ensures that gains achieved by offenders while participating in programmes such as Māori Therapeutic Programmes are continually reinforced upon release. Consequently, the Whānau Liaison Worker plays a critical role in establishing links between a prisoner, their whānau, hapū , iwi, and the local Māori community to reinforce the positive changes achieved by an offender while in prison. Case Officers are responsible for referring offenders to the Whānau Liaison Worker service. The Whānau Liaison Worker works directly with an offender's whānau by putting in place strategies to resolve or manage identified reintegrative issues.

Whānau Liaison Workers were specialists employed by the Psychological Services until March 2006 at which time they were transferred to the Public Prisons Service. A total of 286 prisoners may be referred to the Whānau Liaison Worker per year.

Community Residential Centres

Community Residential Centres (CRCs) 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 Ihi Tu (based in Taranaki) and Montgomery House (based in Waikato) offer a programme that incorporates tikanga Māori based concepts. CRCs are for high-risk offenders released from prison on parole, temporary release or ordered to serve a community-based sentence.

The Whakatinana Te Kaupapa Strategy

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

  • integration of Māori world views in programmes and services and involving Māori in service delivery
  • development of strong and meaningful partnerships with M??ori communities
  • building the responsiveness of the Department.

The objectives of the strategy are to improve the effectiveness of the Department's services to Māori and enhance Māori participation in the delivery of services. To date, there have been no reviews of the Whakatinana te Kaupapa Strategy as it is still too early to assess its effectiveness and its implementation.

A review of the strategy will be conducted in the 2006/07 financial year.

Tikanga Māori Programmes

Tikanga M??ori Programmes are motivational programmes that develop offenders' understanding of M??ori values, beliefs and cultural practices and their socio-cultural environment. They are designed to develop offenders' understanding of their offending behaviour and its impact on themselves, their wh??nau, hapū , and iwi. Tikanga Māori Programmes motivate offenders to address their offending behaviours and develop pro-social goals for the future. In 2005/06, the Public Prisons Service delivered Tikanga Mori Programmes to 943 men and 48 women. The Probation and Offender Services delivered Tikanga Māori Programmes to 370 men and 49 women.

Māori Therapeutic Programmes

Māori Therapeutic Programmes (MTPs) are 100-hour criminogenic programmes that integrate cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and tikanga Māori concepts to address the reasons for the prisoner's offending and facilitate changes in their offending behaviour. The core programme was developed by the Department, in consultation with a number of existing service providers. Selected and trained local, iwi-endorsed service providers are delivering the programme in each of the Department's five Māori Focus Units and at the Northland Region Corrections Facility. Each service provider has been encouraged to use local tikanga Māori, as appropriate, when delivering the programme.

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 Māori serving either a prison or community-based sentence seeing a psychologist where together they discuss therapy goals and outcomes; and options available for Māori under the Bicultural Therapy Model (BTM). This can include working with a psychologist, working with a psychologist and a Māori service Provider, or working solely with a Māori service provider. BTM is available nationwide and works in cooperation with iwi and local Māori service providers who provided a total of 3,933 hours of consultation in 2005/06.

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. The rehabilitative programme offered integrates cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) within a tikanga Māori framework and has proven to be effective in reducing sexual reconviction for Māori and non-Māori men. Key findings from an evaluation of the programme found that:

  • the Te Piriti programme was effective in reducing sexual reconviction for Māori and non-Māori men. The Te Piriti programme had a 5.47% recidivism rate compared to an untreated group who had a sexual recidivism rate of 21%
  • M??ori men attending the Te Piriti treatment programme revealed significant change pre- and post-therapy in a number of key cultural variables, including knowledge of Whakapapa, Mate M??ori (sickness)/ Makutu (curse), Māori traditional values and beliefs, knowledge of Marae protocols and cultural skills
  • the use of tikanga in combination with CBT appears to be an effective treatment programme for M??ori and non-Māori 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 Māori Cultural Assessment

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

Māori Focus Units

Māori Focus Units (MFUs) are intended as rehabilitative interventions, aimed at reducing an offender's risk of re-offending. MFUs 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 MFUs based within the Public Prisons Service. They are located within Waikeria, Tongariro/Rangip?? , Rimutaka, Wanganui, and Hawke's Bay Prisons.


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

  • advising and assisting prisoners with whānau relationships
  • helping prisoners return to the community with the support of their iwi/hapū /whānau, and
  • provide suggestions and advice to the Minister and the Department of Corrections on the provision of services to Māori.

Kaiwhakamana are available nationwide within 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 and Offender Services staff to enable them to work more effectively with Māori offenders. Recently implemented, Kia Mau training is founded on the belief that understanding departmental responsiveness strategies, tikanga Māori practices and Te Reo Māori, will lead to improved and enhanced working relationships with Māori offenders, their whānau and local communities. Kia Mau is delivered by internal trainers and will be delivered in the Probation and Offender Services' regions or areas, depending on the geographical spread of participants.

Cultural Supervision

Cultural Supervision is a forum for Māori and non-Māori Corrections staff to reflect on and enhance their interactions with Māori 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 Māori 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 includes Probation Officers, Sentence Planners, and Psychologists.

Chief Executive's Māori Advisory Group

The Chief Executive's Māori Advisory Group provides direct advice and feedback to the Chief Executive.