A waharoa (gateway) carved by prisoners at Waikeria Prison was presented to St Johns College in Hamilton during a special powhiri yesterday.
Twelve prisoners were involved when the Prison’s Totara Unit was asked to design and make the waharoa as part of a carving project says Assistant Regional Manager Diane Brophy.
“The carving has a teaching theme in the design and it is because of this that the prisoners made the decision to donate it to a school. St Johns College was chosen because one of our staff has connections with their Board of Trustees.
“It is an impressive piece of work and was completed under the guidance of a master carver who comes in from the local community to pass on his skills to prisoners in the Maori Focus Unit and other units like Totara where they could be beneficial.
“We use carving as an educational tool in some of the units in the prison. It is a skill that promotes perseverance, discipline and patience – all life-skills that the prisoners will need to help them reintegrate back into the community once they are released.”
Ms Brophy says cultural programmes, such as these carving sessions, have shown success in changing offenders’ attitudes and behaviours, promoting pro-social lifestyle changes, and increasing their receptiveness to other treatment programmes.
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