History of Te Pā (formerly PARS Incorporated)

Te Whakapapa o Te Pā 


Te Hītori – from PARS to Te Pā

PARS Incorporated (‘the Society’) was a Charitable Society incorporated under the Charitable Trusts Act 1957 (#211919), and a charity registered under the Charities Act 2005 (#CC32737).

PARS is one of the oldest social service organisations in Aotearoa New Zealand. It had its genesis in The Patients’ and Prisoners’ Aid Society (established Dunedin, 17 June 1877), which was the first of many such prisoner-support organisations. In 1899 the Auckland Discharged Prisoners Aid Society, with close connections to newly emergent city missions, was established on the premise of serving the community by working for the rehabilitation of those who transgressed the laws of New Zealand.

The Auckland Society was incorporated in 1946 under the Religious Charitable and Educational Trusts Act 1908, with the district governing bodies of the following churches ratified as Approved Organisations: ‘Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, Congregational, Roman Catholic, Salvation Army, Hebrew Congregation, and any church which was a member of the National Council of Churches’. The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) was added, it is thought, in the 1950s.

In 1959, a rationalisation of the various national groups saw the incorporation of the centralised New Zealand Prisoners’ Aid and Rehabilitation Society (NZ PARS) and, in 1960, the Auckland branch name was changed to The Prisoners’ Aid and Rehabilitation Society of the Auckland District Incorporated. In 1996, Ngāti Whātua, and Tainui were ratified as additional Approved Organisations.  

In 2012, the Auckland branch restructured as PARS Inc T/A People at Risk Solutions, and in 2019, we launched our innovative Te Pā Tūwatawata model to formalise our commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and tikanga Maori which underpin the values and kaupapa of the organisation.

In early 2019, PARS Inc embarked on what was to become an evolutionary journey: one that would see the unfolding of a way forward that strongly positions the organisation as a kaupapa Māori provider, honouring our commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and to our tangata and whānau.

Early discovery sessions with the board and team led to the creation of our ecology of care, Te Pā Tūwatawata (Te Pā); the documenting of our determination  and dedication to creating a safe and secure environment for Māori to reassert rangatiratanga through the traditional practices of social justice – tikanga and mātauranga Māori.

Having defined our drivers and objectives, our collective vision became clear – to provide a living, thriving ecology of care, that heals, restores and transforms our people. With a shared understanding of our objectives into the future, we reflected on how to best deliver on this vision. What followed was a year-long consultation focused on capturing the voices of our people; from the board table through every level of the operation, and externally, to ensure that our governing guidelines provided a strong foundation for success. The resultant suite of recommendations for changes to our constitution was approved at our 2020 annual general meeting; fully supporting our commitment to working in accordance with the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and our core values of manaakitanga, wairuatanga, rangatiratanga, arohatanga, whakapapa and whanaungatanga.

The refreshed constitution recognises the distinctive indigenous rights of Māori as tangata whenua, and defines the Te Pā culture of inclusiveness, unity and fairness, in which all individuals are valued, treated with dignity, and empowered to achieve their potential. This became the foundation upon which to develop a strategic plan that is based on a Mana Ōrite (shared respect and responsibility) framework. The strategy gives effect to our mission to whakakaha (strengthen and intensify) the cultural, social, economic and political imperatives of whānau – changing one generation at a time through establishing meaningful relationships and transformational partnerships that enhance the mana of our people in an unrelenting pursuit of equal power, control and authority.

As each stage of the process came to fruition the next became clear, and with a robust future-proofed foundation and strategy in place, we were excited to announce our next step.

From 20 May 2022, PARS Inc officially launched “Te Pā” at Te Noho Kotahitanga Marae at Unitec. Te Pā encapsulates our vision, mission and values, and the promise to our people of intergenerational whānau transformation.  Our team remains committed to service delivery excellence, and our services continue to grow and evolve to meet the needs of our people.

We are grateful to all who were a part of this journey; our Board and team, our funders and supporters, and most especially – the reason we are here – our tangata and whānau. We especially acknowledge the influence of our tīpuna in the informing and unfolding of this journey.