Te Kooti Rangatahi ki Heretaunga, Hawke's Bay's first Rangatahi Court, will be officially launched at Te Aranga Marae next week after being delayed twice by Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.
The official launch on October 15 will be hosted by Ngāti Kahungunu. It will be the 16th Rangatahi Court since the first court was established in Gisborne in 2008.
Judge Louis Bidois, the presiding judge of the Rangatahi Court told Hawke's Bay Today in July that 100 years of mainstream justice in Hawke's Bay had not been successful in rehabilitating and engaging youth, and in fact it had "alienated" many.
He said the alternative marae-based judicial system for youth aged 14 to 17 was needed.
Rangatahi courts work within the Youth Court legal structure. The same laws and consequences apply as they would in the Youth Court.
"There are 15 Rangatahi Courts around New Zealand and evaluations have established that there is a significant reduction in offending by the young person," Bidois previously said.
"They have been proven to provide enhanced justice to young people, their family and victims.
"There is better engagement with Rangatahi Courts and it is designed to connect young persons back to their culture," in order to provide a better platform for the delivery of effective interventions.
"A hundred years of mainstream justice has not been successful, in fact it has alienated many. There's no cultural input in mainstream justice.
"With Rangatahi Courts families can identify with the judicial system, and the young persons are exposed to the wisdom of the kaumatua, not just the judge.
"They are surrounded by tikanga."
Rangatahi and Pasifika Courts apply the same law and procedure as any other Youth Court, but in a marae or Pasifika community setting.
They incorporate Maori and Pacific languages and protocols.
Kaumatua and kuia sit alongside a judge, police, social workers, court staff, whanau, a youth advocate (the young person's lawyer), a lay Advocate and the victim if they choose to attend.
After a Family Group Conference - a family/whanau-led process to plan for how to address concerns about tamariki or rangatahi about their offending - a plan is decided for how the youth can take responsibility and not offend again.
Young people of any ethnicity may be referred to these courts if they admit their offending, and if the victim consents.
The Rangatahi and Pasifika Courts regularly monitor a plan set by a Family Group Conference.