E Tū Whānau kaimahi were asked to support the Māori Justice hui, Inaia Tonu Nei, in April 2019 by accurately recording the kōrero. But Iwi Justice advocate and Black Power member, Eugene Ryder says, their influence went much further.
“There needs to be a shift of thinking in government agencies to invest in the potential and capacity of communities to resolve their own challenges. E Tū Whānau promotes that shift of power − by investing in communities at the top of the cliff so they don’t fall down that cliff. E Tū Whānau has made changes within whānau, hapū and iwi that no other [part of] government has been able to make.
“Some agencies see themselves as the experts in other people’s lives but those that are informed by the E Tū Whānau kaupapa are more likely to engage with the very communities that are impacted by their policies and support them to come up with solutions.
“If, for example, the Ministry of Justice takes on the kaupapa that E Tū Whānau has developed over the last 10 years, I believe there would be a major, positive change for our people.
“E Tū Whānau isn’t a method to stop crimes, but it is a kaupapa that allows one to think about their actions and seek tools to be able to deal with different situations.”
As a result, people that engage positively with E Tū Whānau no longer commit crimes and that’s good for everyone.”
Eugene’s belief in the E Tū Whānau kaupapa comes from personal experience.
“I’ve seen what E Tū Whānau has done in my family, my iwi, my community, and it’s not fair that other New Zealanders don’t get to see those positive changes.
“When I read the E Tū Whānau Charter of Commitment about not accepting or putting up with violence of all forms, I invested in that and knew that shift in thinking would be beneficial to my children and my partner.
“I didn’t turn into an angel overnight, but what it has done is help me identify tools to cope with situations that I wasn’t able to cope with prior to it.”