Kim Workman

Kim Workman

Journey Towards Justice

Life is nothing more than a collection of stories – but within those stories there are threads of meaning that, over a seventy-year journey, make sense of one human life.

Kim Workman grew up in the Wairarapa, son of a Pākehā mother and Māori father. His whakapapa comes from Ngāti Kahungunu and Rangitāne; Pāpāwai Marae near Greytown is the place to which he always returns.

Jazz musician, policeman, public servant, prison manager, prominent campaigner for restorative justice – Kim’s life is full of passion and spirit, research and writing, action and commitment. His childhood was shaped by life in a country town, by family and Māori community, somewhat by school and rather more by playing jazz.

Working as a police officer in the 1960s prompted his engagement with justice reform – and brought into sharp relief the racism that he has challenged throughout his working life. His career in prison management strengthened his commitment to prisoners’ welfare.

Kim’s visionary work in justice reform began when he became director of Prison Fellowship New Zealand, and ultimately found expression in the Rethinking Crime and Punishment project and in supporting the activist group JustSpeak. His thinking draws on both his Christian faith and his Māori heritage: he was instrumental in establishing one of the first faith-based prison units, and his understanding of restorative justice draws strongly on Māori customary practice.

Journey Towards Justice is an eloquent account of a life that is at once ordinary and exceptional, told with warmth and honesty. There are dark moments and hilarious ones, achievements and failures. Above all, there is love, compassion, vision, and a profound determination to bring justice to all.

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Print publication:
Ebook publication: Nov 2018
Pages: 278
RRP: $49.99
ISBN: 9780947492533
DOI: 10.7810/9780947492533

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Kim never shies away from the difficult conversations. He is steadfast in his belief that if people understand the issues, based on evidence and lived experience, they will want what is best for others.
- Julia Spelman, Barrister and Chair of JustSpeak

Dr Kim Workman has had an extraordinary range of experiences in his life. They have left him with a passion for fairness and an ability to see and explain the inequities which need to change.
- Sir David Carruthers, former Chief District Court Judge


'Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa celebrates its first knight, Sir Kim Workman', Te Aniwa Hurihanganui, RNZ, 8 November 2019.

'Greater Ōtaki's New Knight', Frank Neill, Ōtaki Mail, February 2019.

'Sir Kim Workman on his fight for criminal justice reform', The New Zealand Listener, 19 January 2019.

'The fight goes on for Sir Kim Workman as he's recognised for services to prisoner welfare, justice sector', 1 News, TVNZ, 31 December 2018.

''There is a place for someone who is bloody-minded' says prison reformer Sir Kim', Stuff, 31 December 2018.

'Sir Kim Workman named Knight Companion in New Year Honours', Maori Television, 31 December 2018.

'The fight isn't over yet for Sir Kim', RNZ, 31 December 2018.

'Best of NZ: New Year Honours pay tribute to 196 exceptional Kiwis', New Zealand Herald, 31 December 2018.

'Kim Workman: Journey Towards Justice', Nine to Noon, RNZ, 28 November 2018.

Kim Workman interviewed on TVNZ's Q+A, 25 November 2018. Watch video on YouTube (4'11'').

'Memoir of a journey to justice' [book extract], Wairarapa Times-Age, 21 November 2018.

'Restorative justice in a Māori community' [book extract], Kim Workman, E-Tangata, 18 November 2018.

Kim Workman interviewed on Kawekōrero, Māori TV, 6 November 2018. Watch video (from 10'30'').

'One law for all or one justice for all?', Newsroom, 12 November 2018.


'This book is no justice essay. Dr Workman’s tone is casual and sincere, and his memories breathe life into the criminal justice debate and the nuances of Crown–Māori relationships. It also documents a fascinating yet ordinary life – with many warm, dark, and funny moments (including being mistaken for Sean Connery by a drunk Bulgarian woman and signing his autograph accordingly).' - Guy Chisholm, Working Life (PDF), p22, December 2018.