Regional | Corrections

Iwi-supported accommodation for released prisoners opens in Tāmaki

Te Hāpai Ō, led by Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua, is a new iwi-supported accommodation service in Auckland that will cater to tāne Māori, aiding their reintegration into society.

Corrections Minister Mark Mitchell was present at the opening of the facility in Glenfield today, and he emphasised the importance of iwi collaboration during his address to Ngāti Whātua.

“Ngāti Whātua has played a significant role alongside the Ministry of Corrections in terms of providing our men with the necessary support and offering them a safe stepping stone to reintegrate into society,” he said.

“Personally, in my capacity as MP for Rodney and Whangaparāoa, I have been continually humbled by the support of Ngāti Whātua in delivering beneficial projects for both the iwi and the community.”

According to the latest statistics from the Ministry of Justice, 36% of ex-prisoners are re-imprisoned within two years following their initial release.

Up to eight men who whakapapa to the North Shore area and have iwi, hapū, or whānau ties to the region will be eligible to reside at the two properties. This includes men aged 24 and under, who will be supported in one property while the other will accommodate men aged 25 and over.

Around-the-clock support

Residents will receive around-the-clock on-site support from Te Hā Oranga, an experienced Māori health and social service provider, assisting them in securing employment, improving their health, acquiring essential life skills, engaging with te ao Māori, and transitioning to long-term independent living.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua chief executive Antony Thompson says Te Hāpai Ō is a project that underscores their responsibility to care for their whānau and those residing within their iwi region.

“For over 30 years, we have delivered a variety of kaupapa Māori services that engage, empower, and support whānau in identifying and achieving their wellbeing aspirations.”

“It matters not the duration of their stay,” he adds. “Whether they are here for 12 weeks or a year, what is paramount is that when our whānau depart this facility, they depart equipped with the tools and knowledge to reintegrate into everyday life.”

Thompson says Hāpai Ō will start in May.