Celebrating the Successes of Restorative Justice in Aotearoa New Zealand: Insights from Mike Hinton

In the fast-paced world where critiques and negatives often overshadow achievements, Mike Hinton offered a refreshing perspective on the evolution of restorative justice in Aotearoa New Zealand. In his enlightening presentation, rather than dwelling on the challenges, he chose to shed light on the significant strides the sector has made over the years.

Aotearoa New Zealand’s justice system, with its colonial roots, has often been the subject of scrutiny and criticism. And while it’s easy to focus on the issues, Mike’s emphasis was on the tremendous progress that’s been achieved, especially in the realm of restorative justice. Through his discourse, he aimed to redirect the lens of the audience towards the positives, providing a beacon of hope and inspiration.

With a career spanning diverse roles, Mike has been at the forefront of restorative justice initiatives in the country. As the general manager of Restorative Practices Aotearoa since 2012, he has witnessed firsthand the transformative power of restorative justice practices in healing communities, reconciling differences, and providing a platform for mutual understanding. His passion for the cause was palpable throughout the presentation, drawing the audience into the world of restorative justice and its profound impact.

One of the primary themes of his talk was the idea of learning from negatives. Rather than viewing challenges and critiques as setbacks, Mike highlighted how they have been instrumental in shaping a more robust, inclusive, and effective restorative justice system. Every critique was seen as an opportunity to refine and improve, leading to the creation of a system that is more in sync with the needs and values of the community it serves.

He also touched upon the symbiotic relationship between restorative justice and the broader community. The successes within the sector, he noted, were not just the result of policies and initiatives but also stemmed from the active involvement and support of the community. This collaborative spirit, where every stakeholder plays a role in shaping the trajectory of restorative justice, has been a cornerstone of its success in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Towards the end of his presentation, Mike posed a thought-provoking question to the audience: “What if we shifted our focus from what’s wrong to what’s possible?” This, he believed, was the key to continued growth and success. By embracing a mindset of possibility and optimism, we can unlock the untapped potential of restorative justice, making it an even more powerful tool for change.

In conclusion, Mike Hinton’s presentation was a heartening reminder of the successes achieved in the realm of restorative justice in Aotearoa New Zealand. By celebrating the positives and learning from the negatives, he underscored the importance of moving forward with hope, resilience, and an unwavering belief in the transformative power of restorative justice.