Highly Commended certificates for Arts in Corrections

Te Putanga Toi Arts Access Awards 2018, presented in Parliament by Arts Access Aotearoa, celebrated the award recipients and also the individuals, groups and organisations who received Highly Commended certificates in several of the award categories.

The two Arts in Corrections leadership awards were the Arts Access Corrections Whai Tikanga Award 2018 and the Arts Access Corrections Māui Tikitiki a Taranga Award 2018.

Below is more information about the Highly Commended recipients.

All photos by Vanessa Rushton Photography.

Arts Access Corrections Māui Tikitiki a Taranga Award 2018

Highly Commended: Rue-Jade Morgan, Otago Corrections Facility, Dunedin 

Jade’s work at Otago Corrections Facility is impressive. Imprisoned for a serious crime, he was challenged while inside to take another pathway by a tutor of Māori arts and tikanga. He has followed that other pathway and become a lecturer at Otago Polytechnic.

Rue-Jade Morgan and Minister DavisUsing that position and the understanding he built up on his life journey, he has created a programme in traditional martial arts and tikanga to support others in prison and probation services.

Jade’s programme targets Māori in high-security facilities, aiming to give them an understanding of who they are and where they come from. Following that, some prisoners have developed so much that they have been able to transfer to low-security areas and so become eligible for prison employment and training, which can equip them for life after prison.

He also offers released prisoners a chance to pursuing education opportunities at Otago Polytech as a means for them to continue engaging with education. Research has found that education is a powerful tool that contributes to positive lifestyle changes for them and their families.

Judges’ comment: “We were excited by this nomination. Jade has lived experience of incarceration and is sharing that experience and his own self-awareness with others. This is leadership that has grown from adversity and he is now giving back and connecting with prisoners through a Te Ao Māori approach.”

Highly Commended: George Massingham, Hawkes Bay Regional Prison

As the Prison Director of Hawkes Bay Regional Prison, George Massingham has been instrumental in the development of a kaupapa Māori pathway for prisoners across the prison. Toi Māori (e.g. waiata, kapa haka, whaikorero and raranga), tikanga-based programmes and cultural practices are fundamental to a sense of identity for Māori and assist in their rehabilitation and reintegration.

George Massingham and Minister DavisHe has showed courage, a willingness and foresight in enabling cultural inclusion and diversity through the arts. Restoring mana is an essential component of prisoners’ rehabilitation. Through the arts, they have been provided opportunities to “give back” to their whanau, friends, the prison and the community – helping to instill a sense of purpose, connection and wellbeing.

Under George’s leadership, the prison has fostered positive relationships with iwi and local businesses and organisations to support prisoner reintegration. 

Judges’ comment: “George is the enabler and encourager who has ensured that tikanga-based arts and cultural programmes have flourished at Hawkes Bay Regional Prison. He leads a very committed team, who know the value of a tikanga approach to rehabilitation.”

Arts Access Corrections Whai Tikanga Award 2018

Highly Commended: Bundy Waitai and Arrin Clark, Northland Region Corrections Facility

Northland Region Corrections Facility has been set up as a cultural site rather than having specialist Maori Focus Units. Facilitators Arrin Clark and Bundy Waitai deliver its cultural programmes and ensure the tikanga is consistent with that of Ngapuhi.

Bundy Waitai, Arrin Clark  and Ray Smith, Department of Corrections It is important for prisoners’ rehabilitation that those who identify as Māori have the opportunity to reconnect with their culture and in doing so find their identity and whakapapa.

Bundy Waitai has developed a Māori performing arts programme as well as being the kaiako for the Te Reo Māori course. He has also been instrumental in developing the tikanga for the prison.

Arrin delivers cultural programmes that focus on rehabilitation. He has been involved with NRCF for the past decade and has been responsible for keeping the tikanga alive and healthy.

NRCF considers itself fortunate to have two kaumatua on site who are the kaitiaki of the tikanga. They not only teach but also demonstrate manaakitanga, whanaungatanga, rangatiratanga and wairuatanga. 

Judges’ comment: “Big hearts, big impact! Bundy and Arrin are the Kaitiaki of tikanga at Northland Region Corrections Facility. Their cultural programmes empower the men to reconnect with their culture, gain a sense of identity and make positive change.”

Arts Access Te Auaha Community Partnership Award 2018

In addition, an Arts in Corrections partnership – Write Where You Are, NZ Festival, and Rimutaka and Arohata Prisons, Wellington – was Highly Commended in the Arts Access Te Auaha Community Partnership Award 2018.

The Prison Voices partnership and Victoria Spackman, Te AuahaMost prisoners are in a place they don’t want to be, thrown together with people they didn’t choose to be with, and cut off from friends and family. Participating in writing classes creates a space that is healing and good to be in, simply by coming together, acting with respect and kindness and applying themselves to constructive shared activity.

Prison Voices was an event organised by the New Zealand Festival’s Writers and Readers programme with the Write Where You Are collective and the Department of Corrections, and was held at Arohata Prison and Rimutaka Prison on 8 March 2018.

Two busloads of international and local writers, journalists and interested public travelled to the prisons in Upper Hutt and participated in creative writing workshops with the prisoners. The visitors also heard the men and women read work they had written in the eight-week workshops leading up to Prison Voices. 

Judges’ comment: “Bringing two busloads of people into prison to take part in interactive workshops with prisoners is one challenging project! The Prison Voices partners worked together to deliver a safe, valuable experience that had many positive outcomes for all involved, in particular for the women and men inside.”




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