"New Zealand's Gift to the World" - The Youth Justice Family Group Conference

Press Release - 1 December 2014

Iwi, judges, police, youth justice workers, politicians and many others from all around New Zealand gathered at Te Papa for the launch of the book “New Zealand’s Gift to the World - The Youth Justice Family Group Conference in a setting which held the beautiful blanket given to New Zealand as a tribute by the Lakota Tribe in the United States in 2007.

This publication by the Henwood Trust celebrates 25 years of the youth justice family group conference as New Zealand’s innovative way of resolving youth crime. Resolution that includes offenders, victims and family when making a plan for a fair and just outcome. These plans also seek an answer to what lies behind the young person’s offending and addresses their needs. The book is an accessible read and is a hard look at the family group conference process and whether we as a country have done enough.

Co-authored by Judge Carolyn Henwood and Cambridge writer and editor Stephen Stratford this book makes some solid recommendations for improvement. Highlighted is the need to look at leadership in the sector and review the way the State and Iwi engage with each other in youth justice.

The launch was a lively event with a number of significant and passionate speeches from James Johnston, Principal Youth Court Judge Andrew Becroft who praised the Children Young Persons and Their Families Act 1989 and paid tribute to Judge Mick Brown who pioneered the family group conference. Judge Henwood asked for solid work to be done that would have “impact” and would lower the risk for vulnerable children crossing over from care and protection to crime and ending up in prison.

The Honourable Bill English, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance reinforced his 2010 comments that New Zealanders want to be safe but do not want to become a penal colony. Prison is a moral and fiscal failure. He stated the next challenge as getting the resources out to the people in need. He sounded in a mood for change; he said New Zealanders expected the hard earned tax payer dollars to actually reach those in people need. He expressed encouragement for ideas like Whanau Ora and showed empathy for state wards of the past.

Dai Henwood Comedian of 7 Days, supported his mother Carolyn Henwood, and as the newest trustee of the Henwood Trust vowed to get a better understanding of the needs of young offenders. Dai introduced some talented young singers from Queen Margaret College.

The launch was held at Te Papa on Monday 1st December 2014.

The book was published with the support of the New Zealand Law Foundation and The Tindall Foundation. Copies are available at Unity Books or from the Henwood Trust henwoodtrust@xtra.co.nz

Order the book online



"New Zealand's Gift to the World" - The Youth Justice Family Group Conference

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