Māori, family group conferencing and the mystifications of restorative justice
The Family Group Conferencing (FGC) forum is often presented by policy entrepreneurs and advocates as indicative of the ability of restorative justice (RJ) to accommodate the cultural and justice needs of diverse populations. In this article, we present recent empirical research from one of the authors on Māori experiences of the forum. Drawing from this research, as well as other secondary sources, we demonstrate that far from being an exemplar of culturally appropriate justice practice, the forum is experienced by some Māori participants as one that encloses Indigenous culture and Indigenous participants within a Eurocentric, formulaic, and standardized process. The final section of our article reveals changes to the development of restorative policies and the practice in the Aotearoa New Zealand context that Māori participants believe are necessary to make the movement, and interventions such as the FGC, an empowering experience for Māori.
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