(Picture caption: Kalem Chan Boon networks at the Pacific Business Village launch in Tauranga recently.)
Over the years, Kalem Chan Boon has seen many men imprisoned alongside hardened criminals simply because they do not have a suitable address to be bailed to.
Now, he and his father Tautali Cleo Chan Boon are forging ahead with a bail accommodation support service to prevent situations like this from happening.
The initiative stems from Kalem’s experience and knowledge working with the New Zealand Police as an authorised officer in the courts.
“When some of these men go to court, it could be the most pivotal point in their life as to whether they go back to prison or return to their village, so to speak,” Kalem says.
“There are such wide-reaching consequences of this incarceration to their aiga.
“Our role will be to support them and their situation during this time, with the goal of being released on bail, rather than return to prison to await sentence.”
Kalem and his father have named their initiative PIVOT Bail Accommodation Limited.
Tautali is a tactical operations advisor for the Department of Corrections and has been with the agency for more than 30 years.
“We have also teamed up with someone who is like a big brother to me: Psalms (Alema) Masame,” Kalem adds.
“He has an amazing life story himself and is the perfect role model for such programmes.
“We all welcome the many opportunities to impart our experiences and knowledge, and show that through a determination to succeed, with the support of others, all things are possible.”
It was about 10 months ago when Kalem suggested the idea to his father.
Since then, they have started talking with small community leaders who they trusted.
“Our path has been led towards some Pacific business leaders with skillsets and knowledge that we would never have known.
“The support has been there locally; however, we are navigating through new waters and there is still so much we are needing support with… I’m confident of that.
“Rachel Karalus (CEO – K’aute Pasifika) and Poata Watene, CEO Tuu Oho Mai are two people who have been incredibly supportive of the idea to keep our men out of prisons and return them to a crime-free life."
Kalem and his parents attended the Pacific Business Village Launch in Tauranga on May 28 to scope-out support for their initiative through the Ministry for Pacific Peoples.
Kalem says he will be looking into avenues of support through MPP, such as the Tauola Business Fund.
PIVOT Bail Accommodation Ltd will be 24/7 housing that will offer accommodation, counselling and programmes, with a focus to support Pasifika and Māori males, who are disproportionately represented within the New Zealand prison community.
PIVOT is based on the Polynesian principle of “E fa’amoemoe i le nu’u - It takes a Village” and the Fonofale model of health, which is a system of wellbeing that acknowledges and embraces Pasifika perspectives.
His father Tautali Cleo Chan Boon is from the village of Falelima, Savaii and Asau, Savaii.
Kalem’s mother is Danielle Stowers-Boon from the village of Magi, Upulo and Pago Pago Tutuila, American Samoa.
Kalem was born and raised in the Hamilton suburb of Dinsdale.
He and his wife have been married for 11 years and have six children.
Visit the MPP website for more information on funding available.