Interview with Judge Andrew Becroft

Kia ora, Andrew. You’re just about to step across from your role as Principal Youth Court Judge to become the Children’s Commissioner on July 1. But I wonder if you might reflect for a few moments on the state of our New Zealand youth.

Internationally, in terms of sporting, academic and cultural achievement, New Zealand boxes above its weight. It’s a land of contrasts and extremes, though, because we also have a long tail of under-achievement and disadvantage and marginalisation.

But there’s only a small group who offend seriously enough to come before the court. That’s about 1800 young people a year.

It’d be easy sitting on the bench and looking through the lens of a Youth Court judge to become a bit jaundiced about the state of the young in New Zealand. And make no mistake, there are some very troubled and challenging young offenders in New Zealand. But, relatively, they’re a very, very small group. And that’s a cause for cautious optimism.

Most young people have loving, stable families, they’re well-involved in their school, they have a good group of friends and they’re well-involved in the community. These are the four legs of a young person’s life — family, school, friends and community. That’s what provides stability. When functioning well, they set a young person up for positive life outcomes.

I’m betting that was the case for you. I suspect that your whānau gave you a good deal of support. Could you tell us a bit about them?

Our New Zealand connection came about in 1861 when John Becroft (a widower) and six sons set sail from Britain on the Matilda Wattenbach. They settled on the Kaipara Harbour in Port Albert, that was touted as the second Auckland — and as the land of milk and honey. Continue reading


Additional reading

News category: Features.

Tags: , , ,