A Simon Te Wheoro sculpture is the feature artwork at the recently opened Ministry of Justice new entity the Criminal Cases Review Commissions office, or Te Kāhui Tātari Ture, in Hamilton.
Unveiled by the Chief Commissioner Colin Carruthers QC with Minister of Justice and Courts Andrew Little in attendance.
The new independent body will investigate miscarriages of justice and is expecting 40 to 50 cases in the coming months.
The Raglan artist’s sculpture titled Kotiate and is sculpted out of Takaka marble sourced from a demolished section of the old parliament building.
Simon says it was a great honour to have his piece chosen to represent such a significant crown entity.
“I feel privileged to have my work recognised in this way and to be a representation of righting the wrongs in the justice system.”
An abstract form of a traditional weaponry club and is a symbol for eternal strength, leadership and Rangatiratanga stature, the artwork symbolises the empowerment of miscarriage of justice victims.
“The piece pays homage to my Māori ancestry and it speaks of conflict between Māori and pakeha, and acknowledges the struggles that have occurred.”
The piece was carved at a Taranaki sculpture symposium attended by Simon last year.
“Kotiate came to life in the lands of Ngāti Ruanui, Te Ātiawa beneath the sacred shadows of Taranaki maunga and it is pinned on a Taranaki andesite base,” he says.
Headed by Colin Carruthers QC, the commission will be independent from the Ministry of Justice, which has until now investigated wrongful convictions.
Cases found to be miscarriages of justice will be referred by the commission back to the courts to determine guilt or innocence.
Little told Stuff the commission will act as a “safety valve” against wrongful convictions.