2021 Innovator of the Year Award finalist: Ranjna Patel

Ranjna Patel is a finalist for the 2021 Trade Me Innovator of the Year Award.

1 March 2021

Ranjna's innovative thinking has made a massive difference to her community.

This innovative approach has reduced domestic violence reoffending by 60%

When Police in Auckland were concerned about the increase in Family Violence in the South Asian community in 2013, they asked Ranjna, an experienced health worker and community leader, for assistance.

Ranjna undertook extensive research and proposed a solution that went against the prevailing approach to family violence, which is to remove women and children from a violent situation and into safety.

Instead, Ranjna asked police to remove the perpetrator and bring him to emergency accommodation for counselling and behavioural therapy (while also providing wraparound support to the whānau at home).

Despite all the research to support it, the concept was a challenging one to get off the ground. Members of the public will often financially support victims of violence, but they are less willing to invest in support services for men who are physically and emotionally abusive to their families.

In 2014 Ranjna established the first Gandhi Nivas home for perpetrators for rehabilitation in Otahuhu, and there are now three permanent Gandhi Nivas homes in Auckland, all staffed 24/7 by psychologists.

In July 2020, Massey University released the findings of a long-term study into Gandhi Nivas, revealing that it reduced domestic violence reoffending by 60%.

The Trade Me Innovator of the Year Award

We’re invested in building the very best Aotearoa, and we know that supporting and growing Kiwi innovation is an essential part of this.

We’re proud to be backing the 2021 New Zealand Innovator of the Year Award – Te Pou Whakairo o te Tau. The Award recognises inspiring Kiwis whose game-changing discoveries, research or inventions are creating a better New Zealand.

The winner will be announced at the New Zealander of the Year Awards on 31 March.