Gordon Anthony RUNGA 08/12/2022
Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002
Gordon Anthony RUNGA
Hearing: 08 December 2022
at Whanganui Prison via MS Teams
Members of the Board:
Mr N Trendle – Panel Convenor
Mr P Elenio
Ms M Dodd
In Attendance: [withheld] - Case Manager
Support Persons: [withheld]
DECISION OF THE BOARD
- Gordon Anthony Runga is making a further appearance before the Board on a sentence of seven years’ imprisonment for manslaughter. The offending occurred in a gang context with Mr Runga being part of a group of several Black Power members who were responsible for the death of Kevin Ratana.
- Mr Runga is in the process of completing Mauri Tū Pae. Despite his initial acquiescence he has not been assessed as suitable to attend the Drug Treatment Programme. Accordingly, he will complete the programmes on his sentence plan with his graduation next week.
- Mr Runga was clear as to the main risks to the safety of others when he leaves prison. First, he says that he needs to leave Whanganui and second, he needs to move away from his former associates. With respect to the second, he has spoken to his president about his need to step down from the gang to focus on his whanau. He told us that his president had accepted his position and that he would be able to leave without anyone coming back on him.
- Mr Runga’s PCO confirmed his progress on Mauri Tū Pae and the successful outcome of the discussion with Mr Runga’s gang associates.
- Case Manager [withheld] reported high praise from the facilitators of Mauri Tū Pae as to Mr Runga's engagement and the insight he has gained. He demonstrated pono at all phases of the programme and shown a good understanding of the content of the programme. For himself Mr Runga was not slow to acknowledge that he sometimes struggled but it is clear he has persevered throughout and will graduate with distinction.
- Having regard to his history of offending the Board is of the view that a period of reintegration to enable Mr Runga to consolidate the gains he has made and for them to be tested in a less structured environment is the next step. We understand progress will be considered by a panel in the prison shortly.
- So far as the Board is concerned, we support his progression on whatever activities can be made available starting with Self-Care and guided release and hopefully leading to Release to Work. We certainly support guided releases to enable Mr Runga to meet with his accommodation provider. He has been accepted by [withheld] for supported accommodation in New Plymouth. It would be helpful for that relationship to be further developed.
- Prior to today's hearing the Board met again with Mr Runga's victim’s mother. She repeated that she had forgiven Mr Runga and held no bitterness towards him as she needs to manage her own life with two moko who were Mr Ratana's two sons. Mr Runga acknowledged the generosity of his victim’s mother.
- For today parole is declined. Mr Runga will be scheduled to return to the Board in five months, by 30 May 2023. For that hearing a brief parole assessment report outlining his progress on reintegration activities and an update on his release plan is requested.
Mr N Trendle