Hemi TE POONO 20/02/2024

Parole Hearing

Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002


Hearing: 20 February 2024

at Auckland Prison via MS Teams

Members of the Board:

Mr N Trendle – Panel Convenor

Mr A Hackney

Ms W Taumaunu

Counsel: Ms E Priest

In Attendance: [withheld] - Case Manager


  1. Hemi Te Poono was initially sentenced to eight years, six months’ imprisonment for wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.  While in prison, he has appeared before the Court on five occasions and accumulated a further 12 convictions leading to a statutory release date of 15 June 2027.
  2. When Mr Te Poono was seen for parole to be considered in February last year, a significant shift in his behaviour was noted and a plan was referred to that involved him being transferred to attend the Special Treatment Unit for Violent Offending.  For various reasons that has not occurred.  We learn today, however, that he is now scheduled to commence the programme at Te Whare Manaakitanga in June.
  3. Ms Priest appeared as counsel and made written and oral submissions strongly advocating for Mr Te Poono’s participation in the Special Treatment Unit Programme.  He had reduced his security classification to low/medium and was highly motivated to commence and complete that programme.  She submitted that he was somewhat frustrated at the barriers that emerged following the Board’s recommendation 12 months ago.  For that reason, she invited the Board to consider a referral to section 21A of the Parole Act.
  4. Previous parole assessment reports have referred to Mr Te Poono’s poor conduct and compliance.  At one point there were some 78 instances in a 12-month period.  All that changed two years ago, Mr Te Poono told us.  [withheld].  He committed himself then to change.  He was referred to as a leader in the maximum security unit, where he was a positive influence on others.
  5. Having regard to his offending history, it is essential in the Board’s view, that Mr Te Poono completes an intensive intervention such as the Special Treatment Unit Programme for Violent Offending before we could be satisfied that he reached the statutory criteria for release on parole.  We note his strong motivation to complete the programme.  We support him to do so.  We accept counsel’s submission to us and pursuant to section 21A of the Parole Act specify Mr Te Poono’s attendance and completion of that programme before we see him next.
  6. He will be scheduled to return to the Board in June 2025 by the end of that month.  For that hearing, we request a psychological addendum assessing his progress on the programme at Te Whare Manaakitanga with recommendations as to any residual treatment or reintegration needs.

Mr N Trendle

Panel Convenor