Talofa lava. Firstly, I want to acknowledge all the recipients of Te Putanga Toi Arts Access Awards 2020 – in particular, the Arts in Corrections award recipients and those who were Highly Commended. It’s exciting work you are doing to provide access to the arts and creativity for people in the justice system. Congratulations and thank you for your vision, commitment and generosity.
A big thank you to Hon Minister Kelvin Davis and Ara Poutama Aotearoa’s National Commissioner Rachel Leota for their warm remarks and for presenting the two Corrections leadership awards.
This year’s awards have seen several firsts for Arts Access Aotearoa, including the first time the awards ceremony has been screened as a pre-recorded video on Arts Access Aotearoa’s website. I hope you enjoyed watching it and if you did miss it, you can check it out now online.
It’s also the first time a former prisoner and current prisoners have received the Corrections leadership awards. Rue-Jade Morgan was presented the Arts Access Corrections Māui Tikitiki a Taranga Award while current prisoners – members of the Redemption Performing Arts Whānau and Tuakana/ Teina Mentors at Northland Region Corrections Facility were awarded the Arts Access Corrections Whai Tikanga Award. These Arts in Corrections leadership awards highlight Arts Access Aotearoa’s recognition of the value of lived experience in working to rehabilitate incarcerated women and men through the arts and creativity.
During the “prelude” of the award ceremony, there was a beautiful trailer promoting the Home Ground initiative. Creative Director Jacqui Moyes and trauma counsellor Anita Grafton describe how the creative process can support women who have been in prison to lead a positive, contributing life back in the community. This amazing, effective programme was awarded a Highly Commended citation at the awards.
Sadly, Anita Grafton passed away earlier this month. A clinical advisor, facilitator, counsellor and mental health practitioner, she played an important role in Home Ground. She was generous, knowledgeable and wise. As her eloquent online tribute says, “At a time when women need support more than ever, Anita will forever be an inspiration with her core belief that women will change the world.”
Another highlight of the awards was the trophies carved by a prison artist at Hawkes Bay Regional Prison. This was made even more significant because Acting Prison Director Leonie Aben received a Highly Commended citation in the Arts Access Corrections Māui Tikitiki a Taranga Award.
The “prelude” includes a description of the two tāonga by Lawrence Erearata and Hone Fletcher, and insights into the meaning and whakapapa of each trophy. Thank you, Lawrence and Hone, for delivering the trophies to Wellington.
Thank you all for another successful Te Putanga Toi Arts Access Awards 2020.
Arts in Corrections Network national Zoom hui
I invite you all to attend the next national hui online on Wednesday 4 November from 2pm to 4pm. Award recipient Rue-Jade Morgan and Beth Hill (on behalf of the award-winning men in Redemption Performing Arts) will discuss their programmes and what makes them successful.
Here are the key topics we will be cover at the hui:
- Funding applications: where can I get funding from? How do I write an application? (Kate Hiatt, Creative Spaces Advisor, Arts Access Aotearoa)
- How can your arts programmes and projects help combat isolation for the men and women in prison? (Chris Ulutupu)
- How digital arts therapy and installations of nature can enhance wellbeing.
If you are interested in attending, please send me an email and I will send you a Zoom meeting invitation link.
Other Arts in Corrections events
On Thursday 19 November, I will be in Otago hosting the region’s first Arts in Corrections Network meeting. I will also attend the Dunedin Art Show opening that evening, where there will be a booth displaying artworks by men in Otago Corrections Facility.
I will be in Auckland on 23 and 24 November visiting Mt Eden Corrections Facility and attending a conference. If you would like to schedule a meeting during my visit please feel free to email me
I have scheduled a visit to Hawkes Bay Regional Prison on 25 November to meet Acting Prison Director Leonie Aben and Assistant Prison Director Tony Denton. We plan to visit Tirohanga Kaupapa (Māori Focus Unit) and other arts programmes happening on the site.
Arts Access Aotearoa was pleased to support the presentation of Rob Mokaraka’s play Shot Bro: Confessions of a Depressed Bullet at Rimutaka Prison. Initially cancelled because of COVID-19, the show has been rebooked and I am looking forward to attending the presentation in Unit 9 at Rimutaka Prison on 16 November.
Please contact the Arts in Corrections Advisor if you want any advice or to discuss your projects (E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: 04 802 4349).