Waatea News Column: When will Corrections be allowed to practise Whakaora?


Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis has finally lost his patience with Corrections.

Some critics may ask why it has taken so long.

The Minister’s bewildering desire to take what Corrections told him at face value saw a situation erupt at Waikeria Prison that should never have been allowed to get to that state alongside tactics during the riot which will prove to be incredibly damning when the review finally takes place alongside a misplaced blaming of a Prisoner Rights Group.

That all changed this week when the Minister finally demanded answers from Corrections as to how on earth their ritualistic abuse of women at the Auckland Women’s Prison met any standard of professional care.

The abuse by Correctional staff towards female prisoners has been described in Court as “cruel and inhumane” and becomes yet another Government Agency, just like Oranga Tamariki, whose culture is so corrosive and damaging that the person comes out worse than when they went in.

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Corrections require a culture change as desperately as Oranga Tamariki does and I believe Māori values produce far more compassion, empathy and healing than any neoliberal welfare agency ever could.

Kelvin must demand a Corrections service that can heal as well as punish and it has to be Māori led.

First published on Waatea News.


  1. Yes Kelvin started out well meaning, and got prison numbers down a little by providing literacy help so people did not rot on remand for months just because they could not understand or fill out certain forms. But, like many other Ministers before him, he was soon captured by his Dept. There are many ways they can do that including turning info on and off, manipulating timing of info, providing false info or out of date info, overloading with info, undermining and manipulative behaviour, slow downs, passive aggression can all be used on a “troublesome” new Minister.

    Corrections is currently loaded to the gunwales–say some of my friends that should know–with South African and UK origin staff. These people not necessarily “Māori friendly”–no, fucking racist is how I would put it.

    So hopefully Kelvin’s rediscovery of the type of mojo he had dealing initially with Aussie prisoners, is here to stay for New Zealand ones.

  2. Why should prisons become de facto Marae, the Maori prisoners had a choice before they committed their crimes and suddenly when in prison they are to be smothered in maoridom?…pfff

    Im sure most will take up some useless Maori classes as it will look good on their parole ‘CV’….and if they end up back inside, can we blame that as a Maori failing Maori? or just keep the colonial settlement angle for all their teoubles and never blame them for being low lifes!

    • the classes aren’t useless , such as woodcarving for example .

      not all prisoners are Maori however you’ve singled them out – don’t be a racist fuckwit all your life

  3. I see you are Maori bashing again im right yes some maybe low lifes but not all, just like some people who aren’t in prison can also be low lifes. Look at the pedophiles we have in our country and many hide behind their religion or trusted profession and some are cult leaders and get government funding.

  4. I have asked Martyn many times for a Maori prisoner example of his ‘racist’ judiciary….nothing yet.
    His posts make it seem that Maori are in jail for stealing a loaf of bread to feed the family, whereas the truth is the average convictions of prisoners, Maori and non Maory is approx 30-40. (Excluding one off crimes that warrant instant jail time of murder, rape and manslaughter etc). Now I agree that some may turn the page and become a normal non criminal member of society, so spending a 100 plus million a year in getting them into the programs will all be worth it for a handful of Maori to not go back to tjeir criminal ways….why not just give them the money up front? Afterall its only tax payers money eh?

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