Māori experts in justice came together on Te Papaiouru Marae at Ohinemutu for a three-day long hui for criminal justice reform.
The group leading the hui, Te Ohu Whakatika, was established following Hāpaitia Te Oranga Tangata - Criminal Justice Summit 2018.
Of the 600 attendees of the Criminal Justice Summit, 200 were Māori so a call was made to meet and discuss a Māori response to the reformation of the Criminal Justice System in accordance with tikanga Māori.
A spokesperson for the rōpū of representatives from 11 regions across Aotearoa said "This is a hui by Māori for Māori voices, government ears, and collective action. We must have brave, uncomfortable conversations to reform our system of injustice".
"At the Criminal Justice Summit held in Wellington last year, Justice Minister Andrew Little reaffirmed his commitment to ensuring that the voices of Māori are at the heart of the criminal justice reform work that the Government is undertaking."
The theme for the hui was Ināia Tonu Nei - now is the time. We lead, you follow.
The Te Ohu Whakatika spokesperson said the theme drove the hui Māori programme and unapologetically declared the space as Māori-led with all participants being speakers and listeners of change.
"Our focus is Inamata, Onamata, Anamata - to celebrate the past and understand the present and how do we look at the future.
"The hope of this hui is to address this key issue that is faced by Māori. Our hope is to influence people with levers, who can make the change through the whole justice pipeline."
Waiariki MP Tāmati Coffey attended the hui and said it was a mix of powerful kōrero and collective action.
"I thank the strong voices from around the motu who voiced the conversations we needed to have in order to help deliver fairer justice in Aotearoa for Māori."
Following the Hui Māori, a report containing the key messages of the hui will be sent to Ngāi Māori.
This report will also be delivered directly to all Ministers relevant to the Justice Sector and will inform the wider Hāpaitia te Oranga Tangata – Safe and Effective Justice reform programme.
The stated purposes of the hui was to
1. Contribute to and influence the reform programme.
2. Build and strengthen relationships within te ao Māori.
3. Build and strengthen the accountability of the justice sector with Māori.
4. Recognise and advance the critical space Māori must hold, which is central to any justice reform and indeed a transformation.
5. Be heard in ways that lead to actions (by the Government) that Māori have called for.