In the fourth blog reflecting on the observations of our #JusticeSolutions tour of New Zealand, Jesuit Social Services’ General Manager – Justice Programs DANIEL CLEMENTS recaps his meeting with staff from Challenge 2000, a youth development, community and family social work agency.

On our arrival, manager Damian Dempsey told us we would be receiving a full Maori welcome –speech, song and prayer. We’ve experienced generous attention, warmth and hospitality wherever we’ve stopped so far on this trip, but we were very privileged to experience this traditional welcome.

What followed that welcome was an hour of intense conversation that covered the impact of colonization on traditional culture and community, the importance of identity and connection, the challenges facing government across health, justice and the human service sector and, for Challenge 2000, the importance of connection to spirituality.

All of those we meet have been keen to engage in dialogue around criminal justice and what we can do to improve the lives of so many young people and families struggling with the challenges of managing daily life.

There’s an increasing sense with those we talk to that they know what works and there are effective tools to support and measure the effectiveness of the work – all that’s required now is the will to resource and do it.