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Site of September 2012 Conference - Towards a Restorative CityPhoto by Phillip Capper - Flickr Creative CommonsHere's bit of good news by Anne-Marie Emerson from the Wanganui Chronicle. Inspired by the city of Hull, UK, this small city in New Zealand moves toward becoming "restorative" itself. Wanganui is hosting a conference on the subject on September 10 and 11 entitled "Whanganui: Towards a Restorative City." Estelle Macdonald of Hull Centre for Restorative Practice, an IIRP international affiliate, presents the keynote. Paul Nixon, a pioneer in family group conferencing, and Marg Thorsborne, who ran the first ever school-based conference in 1994, will also speak.

According to the story, David Alexander, one of the conferences organizers:

...said the aim of the conference was to help Wanganui people learn more about being a restorative city.

"We want to get participants committed to making Wanganui a restorative city and talking in detail about how this could happen," Mr Alexander said.

"The restorative city idea grew out of the very successful Whanganui Restorative Justice service operated by the same trustees for the last 12 years. That service allows restoration to occur by bringing offender, victim and their families together to address what has happened in a way that meets everyone's needs, especially the victim."

Mr Alexander said when the trust first began researching restorative cities, it led them to Hull, a city with serious deprivation, a high crime rate and major social problems. Led by an inspirational principal, Estelle MacDonald, who instituted restorative practices in her own school, Hull became a restorative city and its social problems and crime rates decreased, Mr Alexander said.

During his visit to Hull Mr Alexander visited several restorative schools and was impressed. "When you walked in you could feel the peace, the warmth, the pride and the achievement. Nine-year-olds could tell you about restorative practices."

Read the full story: Restorative city push picks up pace | Manawatu-Wanganui News | Local News in Manawatu-Wanganui.   (Note that different spellings of Whanganui are intentional.)