Ara Poutama Aotearoa - the Department of Corrections is developing a new prison with a dedicated mental health and addiction service – Hikitia – at Waikeria Prison. The facilities will provide a safe, secure, and respectful environment for staff, prisoners, and their whānau.
In June 2018 the Minister of Corrections Hon Kelvin Davis announced plans to develop a new 500-bed facility at Waikeria Prison, with an additional 100-beds in a dedicated mental health and addiction service named Hikitia.
The development represents a significant investment in strengthening mental health services and providing more rehabilitation, education and training space and opportunities for people in prison.
The new facility represents a step forward to realising our organisational strategy Hōkai Rangi. The new facility will feature more spaces for whānau interaction than seen in any of our prisons to date. Multiple visits facilities combined with greater use of technology to promote contact between prisoners and their whānau will help support their reintegration with the community.
Modern accommodation will also help to decrease prisoner tension and improve staff working conditions. It also means more offenders from around the Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions will have the opportunity to serve their sentences closer to their whānau and support networks.
Hikitia will be the first of its kind in Aotearoa New Zealand. We are working in partnership with mana whenua Raukawa and Ngāti Maniapoto, Te Whatu Ora Waikato and Te Aka Whai Ora, and the Waikato District Health Board to design the Mana Whenua – Ahi Kā Model of Care for the new service.
The project has been impacted by global events and the associated supply chain pressures. The construction phase of the project is still ongoing, and the new expected completion date is 30 November 2024. Once construction has been completed, a period of commissioning will occur before new prison units are brought into operation.