The Waitangi Tribunal will next week hold an urgent hearing into a Napier man's claim against the Crown over alleged failure to reduce the number of Maori who reoffend and are serving sentences.

The claim was filed last year by retired probation officer Tom Hemopo, one of three people who filed the successful Napier Hospital and Health Services claim, on behalf of the Ahuriri rohe - Napier and surrounding areas. Lodged in 1998, that claim was sparked by the downgrading of health services in Napier after the closure of Napier Hospital, and led to a settlement in 2008 providing new targeted health services in the area.

The tribunal announced last November it had granted an application for urgent hearing of the latest claim, lodged by Mr Hemopo on behalf of himself, Ngati Kahungunu, Rongomaiwahine and Ngati Maniapoto.

It will start on Monday in Wellington and is scheduled to last five days. It also has support of Ngati Pahauwera.


The claim targets the Department of Corrections, and was sparked by another withdrawal of services, the department's 2013 lapsing of a Maori Strategic Plan without consultation with Maori, which Mr Hemopo said, at the time of lodging the claim in August last year, had left the Department without a strategy to address Maori offending.

He said he wanted urgency because too many Maori were suffering.

"But more importantly I hope it will challenge the stereotype that there is something about Maori that makes us criminals."