Te Hunga Rōia Māori o Aotearoa – The Māori Law Society says it welcomes the Independent Panel’s report examining the 2014 family justice reforms and supports the recommendation of a joined-up family justice service.
“This principal recommendation of Te Korowai Ture ā-Whānau brings together the fragmented elements of the current family justice service,” says Te Hunga Rōia Māori member Traecy Norton. “This recommendation is important to Māori who have been significantly affected by the 2014 reforms and who would benefit from the cohesive, collaborative, and cost-effective approach that Te Korowai proposes.”
Te Hunga Rōia Māori says it supports the panel’s recommendations, particularly those that allow Māori better access to justice in the Family Court.
"Of note, and among the 70 recommendations made by the panel, the specific reference to Te Tiriti o Waitangi within family court legislation, and increasing exposure, and understanding of Family Court judges to tikanga Māori programmes, and processes," it says.
“Understanding tikanga Māori is crucial to understanding Te Ao Māori, Māori whānau and children who are overrepresented in the family justice system,” says Mānia Hope, family law sector representative for Te Hunga Rōia Māori.
“Te Hunga Rōia Māori supports all of the ‘Te Ao Māori’ recommendations, including appointing more Māori judges to the Family Court bench and requiring all Family Court judges to attend tikanga Māori programmes. The panel’s recommendation to diversify the experience and cultural understandings of the Family Court judiciary will benefit all Family Court users.”
Te Hunga Rōia Māori says it supports the recommendation that, where possible, Māori children are represented by a Lawyer for Child who is Māori.