An Indigenous Perspective on the Standardisation of Restorative Justice in New Zealand and Canada


  • Juan Marcellus Tauri


The development and implementation of restorative justice policies and initiatives has increased dramatically in western jurisdictions, including New Zealand and Canada, since the early 1990s (Jantzi, 2001). This rise in activity has instigated a drive by state officials, supported by some practitioners, to standardise the design and delivery of restorative justice initiatives (Cormier, 2002; Ministry of Justice, 2007; Roach, 2000).

The paper begins by looking at the (re)discovery of restorative justice in New Zealand and Canada1. This is followed by a critical examination of various rationale presented in support of the state-driven standardisation process that recently occurred in Canada, and is currently underway in New Zealand. The final section focuses on strategies that Maori practitioners and First Nations may consider for responding to the state’s standardisation programme. The call is made for Maori practitioners to develop their own standards, or tika (doing what is right) for enhancing the delivery of restorative justice initiatives to Maori offenders, victims, whanau (extended family) and communities.


Archibald, B (1999) A Comprehensive Canadian Approach to Restorative Justice: The Prospects for Structuring Fair Alternative Measures in Response to Crime. In Stuart, D; Delise, R and Manson, A (eds.), Toward a Clear and Just Criminal Law: A Criminal Reports Forum. Toronto: Carswell/Thompson.

Barlow, D; Hickman Barlow, M and Chirico, T (2005) Long Economic Cycles and the Criminal Justice System in the U.S. Crime, Law and Social Change, 19(2), pp. 143—169.

Blagg, H (1997) A Just Measure of Shame? Aboriginal Youth and Conferencing in Australia. British Journal of Criminology, 37(4), pp. 481-501.

Braithwaite, J (1996) Restorative Justice and a Better Future. The Dalhousie Review, 76(1), pp. 9-32.

Bull, S (2009) Changing the Broken Record: New Theory and Data on Maori Offending, paper presented to the Addressing the Underlying Cause of Offending, What is the Evidence? Conference, 26-27 February, 2009. Wellington: Victoria University of Wellington.

Consedine, J (1999) Restorative Justice: Healing the Effects of Crime. Lyttelton: Ploughshare Publications.

Cormier, R (2002) Restorative Justice: Directions and Principles – Developments in Canada. Ottawa: Department of the Solicitor General Canada.

Cunneen, C (1998) Restorative Justice and the Recognition of Indigenous Rights. Paper presented at The 2nd Annual International Conference on Restorative Justice for Juveniles, 7-9 November 2004. Florida: Florida Atlantic University.

Department for Courts (2001) Restorative Justice: Information on Court-referred Restorative Justice. Wellington: Department for Courts.

Dillow, C (2007) The End of Politics: New Labour and the Folly of Managerialism. Petersfield: Harriman-House Publishing.

Easton, B (1997) The Fallacy of the Generic Manager. Retrieved 28 May 2008 from [].

Enteman, W (1993) Managerialism: The Emergence of a New Ideology. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.

Jackson, M (1990) Criminality and the Exclusion of Maori. In Cameron, N and Francis, S (eds.), Essays on Criminal Law in New Zealand: Towards Reform? Wellington: Victoria University of Wellington Law Review Monograph.

Jantzi, V (2001) Restorative Justice in New Zealand: Current Practice, Future Possibilities. Harrisonburg: Eastern Mennonite University.

Lilles, H (2002) Circle Sentencing: Part of the Restorative Justice Continuum. Paper presented at the Third International Conference on Conferencing, Circles and other Restorative Practices, 8-10 August, 2002. Minneapolis.

Lyotard, J (1984) The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. Minneapolis: University of Minneapolis Press.

Maxwell, G and Morris, A (1992) The Family Group Conference: A New Paradigm for Making Decisions about Children and Young People. Children Australia, 17(4), pp. 11-15.

Maxwell, G and Morris, A (2000) Restorative Justice and Reoffending. In Strang, H and Braithwaite, J (eds.), Restorative Justice: Philosophy and Practice. Dartmouth: Ashgate.

Ministry of Justice (2002) Sentencing Act 2002, Parole Act 2002. Retrieved 26 May 2006 from [].

Ministry of Justice (2003) Principles of Best Practice for Restorative Justice in Criminal Cases. Wellington: Ministry of Justice.

Ministry of Justice (2007) Restorative Justice. Wellington: Ministry of Justice.

Palys, T and Victor, W (2005) ‘Getting to a Better Place”: Qwi: qwelstom, The Stolo and Self-Determination. Paper prepared for the Law Commission of Canada. Ontario: Law Commission of Canada.

Poata-Smith, E (1996) “He Pokeke Uenuku i Tu Ai: The Evolution of Contemporary Maori Protest” In Paul Spoonley, David Pearson and Cluny Macpherson eds., Nga Patai: Racism and Ethnic Relations in Aotearoa/New Zealand, Palmerston North: The Dunmore Press, pp. 97-116.

Probation Officers Association of Ontario Inc (2004) Restorative Justice: Position Paper. Ontario: Probation Officers Association of Ontario Inc.

Roach, K (2000) Changing Punishment at the Turn of the Century: Restorative Justice on the Rise. Canadian Journal of Criminology, 42(3), pp. 249-274.

Rudin, J (2002) Aboriginal Alternative Dispute Resolution in Canada – A Case Study. International Journal of Public Administration, 25(11), pp. 1403-1426.

Rudin, J (2003) Pushing Back – A Response to the Drive for the Standardisation of Restorative Justice Programmes in Canada. Paper presented to The 6th International Conference on Restorative Justice, 2 October 2004. Vancouver: Simon Fraser University.

Statistics New Zealand (2007) Census 2006. Wellington: Statistics New Zealand.

Tauri, J (1996) Indigenous Justice or Popular Justice: Issues in the Development of a Maori Justice System, in Paul Spoonley; David Pearson and Cluny Macpherson eds., Nga Patai: Ethnic Relations and Racism in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Palmerston North: The Dunmore Press.

Tauri, J (1998) Family Group Conferences: A Case Study of the Indigenisation of New Zealand’s Justice System. Current Issues in Criminal Justice, 10(2), pp. 168-182.

Tauri, J (1999) Explaining Recent Innovations in New Zealand’s Criminal Justice System: Empowering Maori or Biculturalising the State. Australian New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 32(2), pp. 153-167.

Tauri, J (2004) Conferencing, Indigenisation and Orientalism: A Critical Commentary on Recent State Responses to Indigenous Offending. Paper presented at The Qwi:Qwelstom Gathering: ‘Bringing Justice Back to the People’, 22-24 March 2004. Mission: British Columbia.

Tauri, J (2008) The Utility of Maori Science in the Age of Evidence-Based Policy-making in Criminal Justice, paper presented to The Critical Mass Conference, 11-13 June 2008. Wellington: Victoria University of Wellington.

Tie, W (2002) Credentialism and the Governance of Popular (Restorative) Justice. New Zealand Sociology, 17(2), pp. 235-257.

Walker, R (1990) Ka Whawhai Tonu Matou: Struggle Without End. Penguin Books, Auckland.

Ward, A (1995) A Show of Justice: Racial ‘Amalgamation’ in 19th Century New Zealand (2nd edition). Auckland, Auckland University Press.

White, R (2003) Communities, Conferences and Restorative Social Justice. Criminal Justice, 3(2), pp. 139-160.

Wilson, R; Huculak, B and McWhinnie, A (2002) Restorative Justice Innovations in Canada. Behavioural Sciences and the Law, 20, pp. 363-380.

Zehr, H (2000) Journey to Belonging. Paper presented at The Just Peace? Peacmaking and Peacebuilding for the New Millennium Conference, Massey University, 24-28 April 2000. Albany: Massey University.

Zimring, F (2001) Imprisonment Rates and the New Politics of Criminal Punishment. Punishment and Society, 3(1), pp. 161-166.