The Department of Corrections has been leading the way in regard to Te Reo Māori in the workplace. Staff members Errol Kalmancsi and Mane Robinson initiated the idea to promote the use of Te Reo Māori in the workplace when they recognised that staff needed support around understanding Te Ao Māori. This learning pathway would ultimately help them to better succeed with Māori and create better outcomes for Māori.

Weekly Te Reo Māori classes started in July at both Hastings/Flaxmere and Napier Offices from 8-9.30am. Basic learning includes learning basic phrases, karakia and himene, pronunciation, mihimihi, pepeha and whakapapa.

Acting District Manager Brian Johnstone is pleased with the way things are going and acknowledged the two men for initiating Te Reo Māori classes for staff to support them in their journey of enrichment as they come to learn more of the abundance and value of the language. Mr Johnstone said that the initiative supports the Department’s aspirations within Hokai Rangi, the Departments Ara Poutama Aotearoa Strategy for 2019-2024 that was launched at Parliament by Minister of Corrections Kelvin Davis.

Hōkai Rangi outlines the Departments commitment to do better for people in their care. It identifies their long-term vision and defines their plan for the next five years. It focuses on prioritising the wellbeing of both the people who come into their care and management and their whānau.

Through this new approach, the department expects to improve wellbeing outcomes. A good consequence of this will be a reduction in the current disproportionate recidivism and imprisonment rates, and ultimately greater community safety.

Hōkai Rangi represents a new strategic direction for the Department of Corrections: one that builds on the good things that are already happening, learns from doing, and, most importantly, innovates to find new and alternative ways of doing things to achieve better outcomes for people under Corrections’ management, their whānau, and the wider community. It also delivers on the six outcomes described in Hokai Rangi: Partnership and Leadership, Humanising and Healing, Whānau, Whakapapa, Incorporating Te Ao Māori World View, and providing a Foundation for Participation.

A simple gesture to learn Te Reo Māori can really make a difference.

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