Abstract

This article critically analyses the role that criminological theory and specific policy formulations of culture play in New Zealand's state response to Māori crime. We begin by charting policy responses to the "Māori problem" during the 1980s to the 2000s, with a particular focus on policies and interventions based on theorising that Māori offending is attributable to loss of cultural identity, through to the current preference for risk factor and criminogenic needs approaches. The second part of the article critiques strategies employed by administrative criminologists who, in partnership with the policy sector, attempt to elevate their own epistemological constructions of Indigenous reality in the policy development process over that of Indigenous knowledge and responses to social harm.

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