Restorative Practices Aotearoa (RPA) is the professional association representing the growing number of New Zealand providers of Restorative Justice and Restorative Practices. RPA is the professional accreditation body for New Zealand providers of restorative practices.

RPA was incorporated as Restorative Justice Aotearoa in 2005 and was changed to Restorative Practices Aotearoa in April 2015 following a special general meeting. RPA is registered with the Charities Commission (#CC11179).

Since it's inception RPA has established a strong and credible base for the development of quality restorative practices services. We have been involved with all facets of restorative justice and practices both prior to our incorporation and since.

RPA's mission is to foster and support high quality restorative practice and services that will enhance the lives of individuals and communities. RPA will continue to develop and enhance its range of services within the Justice sector, as well as extending its field of operations more comprehensively into other sectors such as education, environment and health.

RPA operates within the same value set of the core restorative practices values:

  • Participation
  • Respect
  • Honesty
  • Humility
  • Interconnectedness
  • Accountability

Staff and Board

Mike Hinton - General Manager

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Mike Hinton is the General Manager of RPA, after previously being Chairperson of the same organisation.  He has been working as a restorative justice facilitator for 15 years.  

He was instrumental in the implementation of restorative justice services in one of the largest courts in New Zealand, the Manakau District Court, as well as servicing courts in Papakura, Pukekohe and the Auckland District Court.  

He recently featured in a documentary about restorative justice in his community, produced by Maori Television, New Zealand.  Before becoming involved in restorative justice Mike spent 20 years in the military.

Chris Rutledge - Board Chairperson

Chris is an experienced senior executive with experience in central government and in the private sector. As former government agency Deputy Director and General Manager, he has overseen risk and audit portfolios, had responsibility for corporate functions, including IT and Procurement, and enjoyed a broad career overseeing strategy and governance in a number of different organisations.  

Chris is currently a Director of Aegis Partners Limited, a specialist consultancy and thought leader in privacy, security, strategy and performance.

Theresa Heywood - Board Member

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Ko Te Arawa, Ngati Whakaue
Ko Tuhoe, Ngati Whare
Ko Tainui, Ngati Haua
Ko Maea Ross nee loffley toku Mama
No Rotorua ahau
Ko Theresa Heywood ahau

Theresa is the Director of Mana Social Services Trust. She has been in the position for seven years.  Her working background includes the Department of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Education and Prisoner's Aid and Rehabilitation. She has studied a Bachelor of Applied Social Science, majoring in Social work.  Other tohu includes Supervision.  She is a registered Social Worker with MANZASW membership.  She is an Executive Member of RPA representing Maori Caucus.

She is also a practicing restorative justice facilitator working from a Maori perspective.  It is a fact that Maori are over represented in the Court system.  Her aspiration for Restorative Justice in Aotearoa/New Zealand is to get the "Maori way of doing things" recognised, acknowledged and embedded into restorative justice "best practice standards".

George Ngatai- Board Member

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Tena koutou katoa. George Ngatai is the Chair of the board of RPA.

He has been the Project Manager for Manaaki Oranga Restorative Justice with Orakei Marae based in the Auckland District Court for over 2 years. He has governance experience through being a director for The Whanau Ora Community Clinic, a director for Counties Manakau District Health Board, a director for Transitioning Out Aotearoa, and a director for BDO Marketing and Business Solutions.

He is Co-Chair of SAFVPN Safer Aotearoa Family Violence Prevention Network and was nominated as a White Ribbon Ambassador in 2013.

He has expertise working with families, youth and truancy, Maori and Pacific and also in the area of organisational management and fiscal accountabilities. He is married with 7 children aged between 5-12 years. 

Wendy Payne - Board Member

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Tēnā koutou. Professionally, I have always been involved in the education in a number of roles in schools, or for the Ministry of Education. Currently, my role is Counsellor at Sacred Heart Girls’ College, New Plymouth where I provide counselling, restorative services and mediation for students, families and teachers. As a school we are three years into PB4L, a school-wide transformational change initiative promoting positive behaviour, a relational way of working together and using restorative practices to manage conflict and repair harm. Many of us have been utilising restorative practices in schools for well over a decade. In education I came to restorative practices by becoming involved in a Ministry of Education led project lead by Mark Corrigan, to reduce suspensions in schools. I was fortunate to be initiated into the restorative world by Marg Thorsborne.

I was on the board of Taranaki Restorative Justice Trust as a Board member from 2007, completing my term in 2018. My involvement was due to my interest in the development of restorative practices in the education sector but also as a result of being a participant in a restorative conference. Additionally I have spent some time with Victim Support as a volunteer for the Onehunga region. I am in awe of the transformative work our facilitators do in bringing people together to restore relationships and repair harm. My hope is that restorative practices will become the norm and a common vernacular, be it in the Education sector, the Justice system and the community at large.

Bernie O'Donnell - Board Member


Bernie has spent over 20 years working in the Māori radio industry, first as programme director and station manager of Te Korimako o Taranaki, followed by a brief stint with the Māori Media Network. For the past decade Bernie has been Station Manager of Radio Waatea, and now General Manager of Waatea news, where he continues to leads the management team ensuring the organisation’s strategic and business goals and objectives are met, while overseeing and maintaining editorial control. Bernie oversees all operations including contract management, marketing, strategy development and implementation, advertising, HR and business planning.

Jacques Puriri-Kaitapu - Board Member