We are working on long term solutions to improve community safety and the way justice works and we want to listen to everyone involved. This is just the beginning and it will take time, but we have to make a start as the system isn’t working.

What is the situation now*?

We have one of the highest imprisonment rates in the OECD, and it's continuing to grow.

  • There are around 220 people in prison per 100,000 New Zealanders, compared to the OECD average of around 147 prisoners per 100,000 people.

Māori are overrepresented at every stage in the criminal justice system.

  • Māori are 38% of people proceeded against by Police, 42% of people convicted, and 51% of people in prison.
  • Māori comprise around 16% of the New Zealand population.

Our reoffending rates are high.

  • Around 60% of people are reconvicted within 2 years following release from prison.
  • Around 42% are re-imprisoned after 2 years following release from prison.

Most people that are in the criminal justice system have been abused.

  • 53% of women and 15% of men in prison have experienced a sexual assault.
  • 77% of people in prison have been victims of violence.

We can do better than this.

So where do we start?

We held a Criminal Justice Summit to listen to ideas and have a fresh conversation about what you want from our criminal justice system.

We are involving and building partnerships with Māori, community groups and business so we can collaborate and design long-term solutions that work for future generations.

*Figures are from the Ministry of Justice and the Department of Corrections.


Our tohu (Māori design) | Mō tō mātou tohu


“Tohorā” (“Whale”)

 Mother whale and calf

“I am a guardian who will guide you through all. I will never leave your side. You will feed from me as I nurture you to become a leader among us”.

“Hei kaitiaki au mō koutou i ngā wā katoa. Kore rawa au e wehe atu i a koe. Ka whāngaia koe e ahau, i ahau e penapena ana i a koe, hei kaiārahi mō tātou."

Our tohu was created by Len Hetet (Ngāti Tuwharetoa, Ngāti Maniapoto, Te Atiawa, Ngāti Apa).

He mea whakairo tō mātou tohu e Len Hetet (Ngāti Tuwharetoa, Ngāti Maniapoto, Te Atiawa, Ngāti Apa).

It represents a nurturing mother whale and her calf. The tohu captures the spirituality, empowerment, identity and wellbeing of all people.

Hei tohu tēnei mō te whāereere tohorā me tana kūao. Hei whakaahua te tohu i te wairua, i te whakamananga, i te tuakiri me te toiora o ngā tāngata katoa. 

Te Uepū | Advisory Group

The purpose of the Advisory Group is:

  • to engage in a public conversation about what people in New Zealand want from their criminal justice system
  • to canvas a range of ideas about how the criminal justice system can be improved.

Find out more about the members of Te Uepū.


Last modified: