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High rate of imprisonment for Māori adults

09 May 2019

Statistics for adults convicted by sentence type show that Māori adults comprised 46% of adults convicted of an offence in 2018 where ethnicity was known, but made up 58% of adults who were sentenced to imprisonment. The data shows the most serious offence.

The information has been taken from Statistics New Zealand's release of criminal conviction and sentencing statistics for the 2018 calendar year from data provided by the Ministry of Justice. The information covers both the District Court and High Court.

As well as the national picture, there are noticeable regional differences in sentences imposed where ethnicity is considered. While Māori adults made up one-third of people convicted of an offence in the Wellington Justice Service Area in 2018, they made up just over half of those sentenced to imprisonment on conviction. In the Waiariki Justice Service Area, over 80% of those sentenced to imprisonment on conviction were Māori adults, although they comprised 69% of those convicted.

Adults convicted by sentence type in 2018 (most serious offence)
SentenceEuropeanMāoriPacificOtherUnknownTotal
Imprisonment2,1704,2176142231437.367
Community9,85712,0262,52892691026,247
Monetary7,5495,9531,6771,1033,99720,279
Other1,3061,5943681582233,649
None recorded1,0041,4323151173053,173
Total21,88625,2225,5022,5275,57860,715
Proportion of sentences imposed in 2018 (most serious offence)
SentenceEuropeanMāoriPacificOtherUnknownTotal
Convicted36.0%41.5%9.1%4.2%9.2%100%
Imprisonment29.5%57.2%8.3%3.0%1.9%100%
Community37.6%45.8%9.6%3.5%3.5%100%
Monetary37.2%29.4%8.3%5.4%19.7%100%
Other35.8%43.7%10.1%4.3%6.1%100%
None recorded31.6%45.1%9.9%3.7%9.6%100%
Sentence imposed on conviction in 2018 (most serious offence)
SentenceEuropeanMāoriPacificOtherUnknown
Imprisonment9.9%16.7%11.2%8.8%2.6%
Community45.0%47.7%45.9%36.6%16.3%
Monetary34.5%23.6%30.5%43.6%71.7%
Other6.0%6.3%6.7%6.3%4.0%
None recorded4.6%5.7%5.7%4.6%5.5%
Total100%100%100%100%100%
Information by Justice Service Area

Details of prosecution outcomes by ethnicity are not available for individual courts, but sentences can be analysed by Justice Service Area. This covers clusters of courts. For example, the Taitokerau Justice Service Area includes the Kaitaia, Kaikohe, Whangārei and Dargaville District Courts and the Whangārei High Court.

There are obviously population differences and other factors when a regional approach is taken, but there are noticeable variances from the national total.

Proportion of adults convicted in 2018 by ethnicity in Justice Service Area (most serious offence)
Service AreaEuropeanMāoriPacificOtherUnknownTotal
Taitokerau24.5%63.4%3.0%0.7%8.3%100%
North Auckland35.6%25.9%16.1%9.6%12.9%100%
South Auckland15.8%38.2%27.7%7.6%10.7%100%
Waikato32.5%53.0%3.6%2.6%8.4%100%
Bay of Plenty33.9%54.4%2.4%2.6%6.8%100%
Waiariki21.2%69.2%3.8%1.1%4.8%100%
East Coast24.3%65.0%3.7%1.2%5.9%100%
Taranaki/Whanganui43.0%46.8%2.1%1.1%7.1%100%
Manawatu/Wairarapa44.1%44.8%3.3%1.7%6.1%100%
Northern Wellington36.1%42.0%11.9%3.4%6.5%100%
Wellington40.1%33.4%9.6%8.0%8.9%100%
Nelson/Marlborough57.7%27.3%2.7%1.5%11.0%100%
Canterbury56.6%24.8%4.4%3.3%10.9%100%
Otago63.9%21.6%3.5%1.7%9.3%100%
Southland57.4%24.1%2.3%3.5%12.7%100%
NEW ZEALAND TOTAL36.0%41.5%9.1%4.2%9.2%100%
Proportion of adults sentenced to imprisonment on conviction in 2018 (most serious offence)
Service AreaEuropeanMāoriPacificOtherUnknownTotal
Taitokerau21.3%72.1%3.8%0.2%2.6%100%
North Auckland30.2%40.3%17.5%9.5%2.5%100%
South Auckland10.0%54.4%27.1%5.5%3.0%100%
Waikato27.3%67.1%3.4%1.4%0.8%100%
Bay of Plenty24.3%68.7%2.6%3.0%1.4%100%
Waiariki14.9%80.0%3.7%0.3%1.0%100%
East Coast16.8%76.3%4.5%0.7%1.6%100%
Taranaki/Whanganui35.1%61.4%1.6%0.6%1.3%100%
Manawatu/Wairarapa35.7%59.0%3.2%1.3%0.8%100%
Northern Wellington29.0%56.3%9.8%2.7%2.2%100%
Wellington36.4%50.6%7.4%4.8%0.9%100%
Nelson/Marlborough49.4%40.7%4.9%1.2%3.7%100%
Canterbury54.3%37.0%3.9%1.3%3.4%100%
Otago53.3%40.3%3.2%1.3%1.9%100%
Southland58.6%37.6%2.8%0.6%0.6%100%
NEW ZEALAND TOTAL29.5%57.2%8.3%3.0%1.9%100%
Proportion of adults given community-based sentence on conviction in 2018 (most serious offence)
Service AreaEuropeanMāoriPacificOtherUnknownTotal
Taitokerau23.1%69.7%3.6%0.6%2.9%100%
North Auckland39.5%29.4%18.3%8.5%4.4%100%
South Auckland16.5%42.6%29.4%7.5%4.0%100%
Waikato34.0%54.8%4.1%2.7%4.4%100%
Bay of Plenty33.5%60.2%2.7%1.6%1.9%100%
Waiariki21.5%71.8%3.9%0.6%2.2%100%
East Coast23.2%69.0%3.6%1.1%3.2%100%
Taranaki/Whanganui43.4%51.4%2.4%0.4%2.4%100%
Manawatu/Wairarapa43.8%49.0%3.5%1.3%2.4%100%
Northern Wellington35.4%47.2%11.7%2.7%3.0%100%
Wellington42.4%34.6%10.8%7.5%4.7%100%
Nelson/Marlborough61.1%32.0%3.0%0.7%3.2%100%
Canterbury60.2%27.5%4.7%2.8%4.8%100%
Otago69.6%22.5%3.6%1.5%2.8%100%
Southland62.9%29.2%2.9%2.0%2.9%100%
NEW ZEALAND TOTAL37.5%45.8%9.6%3.5%3.5%100%
Proportion of adults given monetary penalty sentence on conviction in 2018 (most serious offence)
Service AreaEuropeanMāoriPacificOtherUnknownTotal
Taitokerau28.2%50.3%1.7%1.1%18.6%100%
North Auckland33.6%15.8%13.2%11.2%26.2%100%
South Auckland16.6%26.6%26.2%8.2%22.3%100%
Waikato34.9%41.9%2.9%3.4%16.9%100%
Bay of Plenty38.4%41.4%1.8%4.0%14.4%100%
Waiariki25.4%56.3%3.8%2.5%11.9%100%
East Coast29.9%51.5%3.8%1.5%13.2%100%
Taranaki/Whanganui44.0%35.1%2.1%2.1%16.8%100%
Manawatu/Wairarapa45.0%35.0%3.1%2.8%14.1%100%
Northern Wellington41.8%28.4%11.8%3.6%14.3%100%
Wellington43.7%18.9%8.4%10.0%18.9%100%
Nelson/Marlborough54.7%19.9%1.8%2.3%21.3%100%
Canterbury53.7%16.2%4.1%4.6%21.3%100%
Otago58.3%13.5%3.9%2.3%22.1%100%
Southland52.7%15.9%1.8%5.6%24.0%100%
New Zealand37.2%29.4%8.3%5.4%19.7%100%

Last updated on the 16th September 2019