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Media Releases




28 August 2023


Te Ao Mārama - A more Enlightened Approach


Te Ao Mārama means a more enlightened approach to justice to help make New Zealand a better place to live in. The District Court of New Zealand Te Kooti a rohe o Aotearoa, is embarking on an historic journey towards Te Ao Mārama in response to decades of calls for transformative change to the courts system. The concept ‘Mai Te Pō Ki Te Ao Mārama – meaning the transition from night to the enlightened world is grounded in ancient teachings that continue to have relevance in the modern world.


Te Ao Mārama is a judicially led kaupapa that will improve the experience for all people who participate in the court system, including victims and whānau. The District Court is  partnering with iwi to better engage with communities to help design the best way to serve our people’s needs.

Te Ao Mārama will mean that all people who come to court to seek justice will be seen, heard, understood and be able to meaningfully participate. Te Ao Mārama is inclusive of all people, regardless of their ethnicity or culture, and regardless of who they are or where they are from.

The aspiration for Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated is to create a space that enables whānau to move from “Te Ao Tara Aitu – the world of calamity,” to a space of “Ki Te Ara Mātua – a pathway of clarity.” – ref Moana Jackson Criminal Symposium 1986


Te Ao Mārama kaupapa is the opportunity to reimagine the delivery and structure of the District Court – to uphold the principles of whānau wellbeing that is inclusive of whānau decision making.


“The is the opportunity to elevate the voices of whānau to improve the experience for all people who take part in the court system.”  Krystal Haimona – Strategic Lead – Iwi Partnerships, Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Inc


To get started, we need the voices of whānau and our communities for us to get this right. Knowledge, experience and personal views are key for Te Ao Mārama to make a difference and for the District Court to lead to more positive outcomes for whānau.


Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Inc are holding online or in person hui to help reimagine the District and Family Court in Te Matau-a-Māui. You are invited to connect, share, wānanga, and shape Te Ao Mārama together.


“It is important that we uphold the voices of whānau through the design to ensure Te Ao Marama Court approach is fit for purpose. We hope whānau will take this opportunity to tell their story.” – Chrissie Hape


Contact by email to receive more information or visit our website today

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