Exploring the Indigenous Roots of Restorative Justice: Insights from New Zealand

In a recent presentation, Danny Poa, a native NZ Māori and descendant of Tuhoe and Ngāti Kahungunu, shared his insights as a practitioner in restorative justice (RJ) within New Zealand. With a background in justice and the NGO sector, Poa manages an indigenous Science Research Group at the University of Otago

Poa’s expertise in RJ led him to become a co-investigator on a research grant awarded to their team this year. The grant focuses on investigating restorative practices in New Zealand and specifically examines its impacts on native Māori participants. Drawing upon traditional conflict resolution methods among Māori communities, the research aims to identify similarities and differences between these processes and contemporary RJ practices.

Through collaboration with experienced Māori restorative justice practitioners, valuable data has been gathered for analysis. This wealth of information will be used to submit multiple articles for publication in the coming months. The findings have already revealed intriguing implications for RJ practice within New Zealand itself

However, Poa also recognizes that these findings hold potential beyond New Zealand’s borders. He believes they can spark interesting discussions about how RJ can progress within other indigenous contexts such as Australia, Canada, the United States, and wider Pacific regions.

Given the significance of this research project’s outcomes for both local and global perspectives on restorative justice practices among indigenous communities, Danny Poa suggests that this platform could serve as an invaluable space for facilitating these important discussions

As we await further developments from Poa’s ongoing research efforts alongside his colleagues at the University of Otago’s Indigenous Science Research Group, it is clear that exploring the indigenous roots of restorative justice holds immense promise for promoting social justice not only within Aotearoa/New Zealand but also across diverse cultural landscapes worldwide.