Whāriki Haumaru: Partnering with Māori Wardens to reduce Warrants to Arrest

Mahinarangi  Hakaraia1, Kaori Takenaka1

1Behavioural Science Aotearoa, Ministry Of Justice


This presentation outlines the Whāriki Haumaru project on reducing Warrants to Arrest. Whāriki Haumaru is a partnership between Eastern District Police Māori Responsiveness Team and the Ahuriri Wātene Māori (Māori Wardens) and an example of “Researching with and for Indigenous communities”. The initiative aims to reduce active Warrants to Arrest in the Hawkes Bay by encouraging voluntary court appearances. Based on a similar successful initiative by an officer in the Hawkes Bay, the pilot involves Ahuriri Wātene Māori making phone calls to people with outstanding Warrants to Arrest.

Behavioural Science Aotearoa (BSA), a Ministry of Justice team dedicated to applying behavioural science across the justice sector, have supported the initiative by developing a principles-based script for ngā Wātene.

BSA and the Evidence Based Policing Centre (EBPC) are evaluating the pilot using indicators of voluntary court appearances following the phone call as the primary outcome measure. Information about contacting defendants is also collected by Wardens at the time of the call, providing insight into the reliability of phone numbers held by Police. Qualitative feedback will also be gathered from ngā Wātene on the pilot’s success and what works to engage with defendants.

Starting on March 9 2021, Whariki Haumaru is anticipated to run for six months. Indicative results suggest that it is well received by defendants and effective at encouraging voluntary appearances.


Mahinarangi Hakaraia is a Senior Te Ao Māori Advisor at Behavioural Science Aotearoa. Mahinarangi’s background is within the Iwi space, particularly Iwi relationship management within a Local Government context and Iwi governance and operations. This varies from chairmanship of a multi-iwi and regional council partnership committee, a representative within district council committees, through to specialist advisor into strategic level work plans and legislative requirement pieces. Mahinarangi is an active member on her Marae and has a strong understanding of tikanga māori.

Kaori Takenaka is a Senior Advisor in the Behavioural Science Aotearoa team. Her academic background is in organisational psychology, and she has research experience in both qualitative and quantitative methods. More recently, she has conducted user experience via telephone interviews at the Ministry of Social Development with clients seeking employment and facilitated focus groups about employment with young people.