We already have our own form of “Sharia law” in New Zealand

M?ori Development and Wh?nau Ora Minister Te Ururoa Flavell applauds the local M?ori community and the judiciary for establishing a Kooti Rangatahi in Tauranga.

The thirteenth Rangatahi Court in the country was launched at Hairini Marae in Tauranga today.

?A large proportion of our young people who end up in the justice system are disconnected from their culture. Kooti Rangatahi offers them a unique opportunity to reconnect with their wh?nau, kaum?tua and marae,? says Mr Flavell.

At the opening of the Kooti Rangatahi in Tauranga, Mr Flavell acknowledged Principal Youth Court Judge Andrew Beecroft, the M?ori judges and kaum?tua who are instrumental in establishing these courts.

The marae-based process works within the existing Youth Court framework but requires young people to stand up in a marae, in front of their wh?nau and their kaum?tua and account for what they have done.

?This tikanga and manaaki-based process is in synch with Wh?nau Ora. Wh?nau Ora is premised on the idea that with the appropriate support in place, wh?nau can control their own destiny and take responsibility for their own development.

?I see many opportunities for those working in the youth justice sector to work alongside Wh?nau Ora collectives and commissioning agencies,? says Mr Flavell.

Responses from young people and families to Kooti Rangatahi have been overwhelmingly positive. Justice Ministry research shows rangatahi and wh?nau feel the process validates the mana of the young people and their wh?nau, while still holding them accountable and responsible.

?Ultimately we would wish for Kooti Rangatahi not to be necessary at all but as a successful model I welcome the establishment of further Kooti Rangatahi in other regions and the evolution of Kooti Wh?nau,? says Mr Flavell.

Maori courts for Maori people to get Maori justice. ? I wonder why we are so upset about Islamic extremism when we are already legislating and implementing our very own Maori extremism – one law for us, one law for them.

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