Taupo gets new rangatahi court

1:37 pm on 7 December 2015

A new rangatahi court, Te Kooti Rangatahi ki Tuwharetoa, has been launched by central North Island iwi.

Te Kooti Rangatahi ki Tuwharetoa, a new rangatahi court, has been launched in the Taupo areaa by central North Island iwi.

A new rangatahi court, has been launched in the Taupo area Photo: SUPPLIED

It follows the successful establishement of similar marae-based youth courts around the country.

The Rangatahi Courts are a judicial initiative that work within the Youth Court framework but use a marae-based and Māori-specific environment to help young Māori and their whānau engage with the justice system.

Ngāti Tuwharetoa iwi member Dylan Tahau said "it provides a cultural support mechanisim for the judical system by taking it out of the courtroom and putting it onto the marae and engaging kaumatua and iwi representatives to support rangatahi in a safer environment with a bit more accountability to the people."

Te Kooti Rangatahi ki Tuwharetoa will have two presiding judges who will work alongside Ngāti Ttuwharetoa kaumatua.

Mr Tahau said, "It's an option for our rangatahi to come in and sit on the marae, sit alongside kaumatua and whanau support to talk through what has been a bad decision to get them there, and find ways to for them to be supported in dealing with the bad decision and ensuring that it's still compliant with the legal aspects required of their offences."

He said it would be a way for youths to reconnect with their rangatahi and "start rebuilding the fact that their whakapapa stems 28 generations from our tupuna, Ngātoroirangi, all those levels of support are hugely vital to our existence as an iwi."

The Paramount Chief of Ngati Tuwharetoa, Sir Tumu Te Heuheu, said the Taupo marae-based youth court will provide his iwi and the authorities with a prime opportunity to make a difference to the lives of young people.

Sir Tumu said they hope to use Te Kooti Rangatahi as an intervention to help young offenders to develop a sense of identity and belonging as a member of a whanau, hapu and iwi.

"We are aware of the disproportionate statistics that come with youth court appearances and how that undermines the future we are aspiring to as a people."

Te Kooti Rangatahi ki Tuwharetoa will sit for the first time in February 2016.