Prison Services staff in the Northern Region are continuing to offer support to colleagues, prisoners and the people of Samoa affected by the tsunami in September.
“Staff in the Northern Region have felt the effects of the tsunami particularly heavily. Around 25 percent of the prisoners we manage, and more than 400 of our staff, identify as Pacific peoples,” said Northern Regional Manager Warren Cummins.
“From my perspective it was about supporting a large component of our staff, and prisoners, who were placed in a position of great loss,” Mr. Cummins said.
“With so many affected among the crew, I felt we needed a strong message of support for Samoans. The idea for the donations was that we wanted to make it as easy as possible for staff to contribute in order to get maximum support. Though there are many worthy causes out there fundraising – this one was personal. In one way or another, everyone knows or had contact with someone affected.”
Among other events, staff at Northland Region Corrections Facility organised an auction of donated goods including car cleaning equipment, meat packs and traditional flax kete bags. Auckland Central Remand Prison staff held a social evening. Auckland Region Women’s Corrections Facility had a donation bucket at their gatehouse and other sites collected generous staff donations. All six prisons across the region collected donated toys to be shipped to Samoa and used as Christmas presents for children in affected areas.
The money raised by staff has been given to the Samoan Government in order to contribute towards the rebuilding of houses and villages that were damaged by the tsunami.
Mr Cummins, Regional Adviser Pacific Le’au Asenati Lole-Taylor along with Principal Corrections Officer David Evagelia visited the Samoan Consul General, Hon Faolotoi R Pogi to present him with the funds raised.
Mr Pogi has a special relationship with prisons in the Northern Region, having recently visited both Spring Hill and Auckland Region Women’s facilities, and was guest speaker at the graduation of a Pacific-based violence prevention programme for male prisoners.
He spoke of his appreciation for the kind thoughts and the overwhelming support that had been received from the New Zealand community, and in this case the valued support from Prisons staff.
In addition to their own initiatives, staff have also contributed to a great number of other fundraising and relief activities coordinated with community groups.
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