Kei ngā mate huhua o te wā huri noa i te motu, haere atu rā, okioki mai rā koutou. Rātou ki a rātou. Tātou ki a tātou. E te iwi mauri ora ki a tātou.

E te iwi, e aku rangatira e nohonoho ana i te motu whānui, i te ao whānui, ka nui te whakamiha ki a koutou i runga i ngā tini āhuatanga o te wā. Tēnā tātou katoa.

Towards the end of April, I was invited by the Ministry of Justice to sit on a panel at the Justice Symposium 2014. The focus of the panel discussion was to look forward 10 years and consider global and domestic trends of relevance to New Zealand’s domestic justice sector.

A recent preliminary report from the United Nations Working Party on Arbitrary Detention noted that Māori are over-represented in our prisons where Māori make up 50% of the prison’s population. This is something we are very familiar with. The report also noted indications of bias at all levels of the criminal justice process in New Zealand from the investigative stage right through to the parole process stage.

Our responsibility as a people, and as a nation, is to work collaboratively to ensure that this bias is addressed and has no place in our society in 10 years’ time.
In my presentation I discussed three areas of focus for the next 10 years. First we need to empower whānau to make choices that best suit their needs and aspirations and we have to lead the way in our own whānau to keep our whānau out of the justice system. Whānau Ora is an excellent initiative that will assist us to achieve this. Second we need to promote and encourage an elimination of the bias in the justice system. We can only achieve this if we work collaboratively.

I acknowledge the relationships that Papatipu Rūnanga have formed with police in their respective regions. This is a good start and developments look very promising. And lastly we need to look at second-chance success. If we work together with those in the prison system we may be able to help them make better choices and encourage them to come back home to be contributors.

Creating positive and good leaders is very important with something like this. Good leadership at all levels is integral for positive change for our society.

This is the same message I took to the New Zealand Police Area Commanders conference, coincidently after the Justice Symposium. Again working collaboratively with the wider community will have benefits for all.

At this conference I challenged police leaders to think about how they can better engage effectively with whānau, hapū and iwi and how we might work better together to advance our regions and to advance the future of our families and community.

As I have mentioned above we have seen progress and developments made regionally where relationships have been built with a focus on whānau and community. The important point here is that we inspire each other to do better.

Over the years I have talked about the many people, especially kaumātua, who have inspired and mentored me. These people show outstanding leadership qualities that have encouraged me in my role as Kaiwhakahaere.

One of those kaumātua was Maria Moimoi Johnson of Taumutu, commonly known as Aunty Ake. Sadly at the beginning of this month Aunty Ake passed away at the age of 90. For me she was an inspirational leader of our tribe.

I recall the many discussions we had and valued the advice she would give me. I remember her politeness, and how big-hearted and humble she was. E te tāua, e te Whatukura o Takaroa, kia au tō moe. Noho mai rā i ngā manaakitanga o ngā mātua tīpuna i te kāinga wairua i te rangi. Okioki mai rā.