An innovative new Youth Justice residence designed in partnership with Māori will provide prevention, healing, and rehabilitation services for both young people and their whānau, Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis announced today.
Whakatakapokai is located in South Auckland and will provide care and support for up to 15 rangatahi remanded or sentenced by the Youth Court, or in some cases the adult courts.
Speaking at the opening ceremony this morning, Kelvin Davis said the new service is a chance to make a real difference in the lives of young people.
“Our Government is focused on improving care and assistance for those young people most in need, and doing things differently to reduce reoffending,” Mr Davis said
“Whakatakapokai will offer intensive, wraparound support for rangatahi, which will help them once they return to their families and communities,” he said.
“This has the potential to reduce reoffending significantly, helping young people get out of the system for good.”
Whakatakapokai has a number of unique features that distinguish it from the other four Youth Justice residences in New Zealand, including:
- Additional support for whānau engagement, including space to hold hui-a-whānau and Family Group Conferences, and enabling Hui Whakapiri;
- Education and health services incorporating Mātauranga Māori;
- Mana whenua input at all levels, supporting all aspects of operations, strategic planning, and community engagement;
- Specialist positions, for example Rangatahi Mentors, who work directly with young people;
- Whakatakapokai is much smaller than the other four residences and the property includes a whānau welcome area, native plantings, maara kai, and maara rongoa.
Mr Davis said it was significant that Whakatakapokai had been designed in partnership with Waikato-Tainui as a Māori-based service.
“This is another sign of our commitment to working with Māori, who know what whānau in their communities need, and know how to deliver it,” the Minister said.