On Saturday morning prisoners in Waikeria Prison’s Maori Focus Unit (MFU) will honour the fallen along with thousands of others around New Zealand as part of ANZAC day commemorations.
Prison Manager for Waikeria North, Paul O’Byrne says that while the prisoners can not attend public dawn parades or other civic services they are still encouraged to acknowledge what ANZAC day means.
“The MFU will hold their own memorial service in the morning so that prisoners have the chance to lay a wreath and pay their respects to the service men and women who fought for New Zealand.
"MFUs aim to encourage prisoners to live a pro-social lifestyle, grounded in tikanga principles and to show participants how their culture can positively influence themselves, their families and their communities," says Mr O’Byrne.
“A lot of the prisoners have never been to an ANZAC day parade before and have very little knowledge of our country’s involvement in war. The approach to the memorial service is one of enthusiasm and pride and gives the prisoners a chance for them to connect with their history.”
Mr O’Byrne explains that by reconnecting Maori offenders with their culture their chances of successfully reintegrating back into the community when they are released from prison are greatly increased.
“In recognition of the principles of the MFU the prisoners will adopt a connection with the 28th Maori Battalion for the day, singing the hymn Tama Ngakau Marie and the waiata Po Atarau which are both associated with this company.
“Some prisoners will also accompany the customary bugle calls during the ceremony with Pukaea and Putara, both traditional Maori instruments which they have learnt to play while in the unit.
“Ka maumahara tonu tatou kia ratou – we will remember them.”
For further information contact the Communications Services Desk:
Phone: (04) 460 3365
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