A new way to support tamariki (children) who have offended

Mr Allan Boreham1, Ms Liz  Marsden2

1Oranga Tamariki, Wellington, New Zealand, 2Ngapuhi Iwi Social Services, Te Tai Tokerau, New Zealand

30 years ago the Children, Young Persons and their Families Act was enacted with a promise of radical change for tamariki Maori. It was a vision born out of deeply rooted concern about the state’s mono-cultural and institutionalised interventions with taitamariki (youth ) and their whanau (families) but the vision was not fully realised.

Young Māori remain disproportionately represented at every stage of the youth justice process. In 2017, Māori accounted for 24% of the 10-16 year old population, but made up 66% of young people appearing in the Youth Court. This overrepresentation continues into our adult prison population.

New Zealand has much to do for young Māori, and the starting point is assisting them to build on their sense of belonging, and having pride in Māori culture and history. Under the revised Act the Chief Executive must have regard to mana tamaiti, whakapapa and whanaungatanga.

Mana tamaiti is the intrinsic value and inherent dignity formed from a young person’s whakapapa (genealogy) and their belonging. Whanaungatanga is the foundations for obligations to protect, maintain belonging, identify and connect.

The Mahuru service for youth on remand is hugely promising and has already been recognised and awarded as innovative. Partnering with Ngapuhi Iwi Social Services to co-design a service in a one- to- one caregiver setting is a radical departure from the institutional settings usually available.

Liz Marsden, General Manager, Ngapuhi Iwi Social Services and Allan Boreham, Deputy Chief Executive for Youth Justice will speak about the unique partnership and the journey.


Liz has more than 30 years experience of working within the social services sectors, both in government and non-government agencies.  For the past 40 years she has worked in various roles within the Ministry of Social Development  and the Ministry of Education in Aotearoa New Zealand.  These roles include teaching within various primary and secondary schools (1973 – 1980), Area Manager for the Community Funding Agency, Tai Tokerau (1992 -1999), Strategic Manager for Far North Schooling Improvement (1999 – 2001), National Manager of Iwi and Māori Services, Child, Youth and Family (2001 – 2004).

Other non-government positions held include manager of the Mataraua Community Trust (1979-1983) providing training and employment for young people, and CEO of Te Runanga a Iwi o Ngāpuhi (1989 – 1992).  Ngāpuhi is the largest tribal group in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Liz sits on a number of Boards including VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai, set up two years ago as an independent advocacy service for children and young people in state care. Liz is currently General Manager with Ngāpuhi Iwi Social Services, a subsidiary of Te Runanga a Iwi o Ngāpuhi.