12 Sep 2012

Samoan staff at NZ prison receive recognition for work

4:22 am on 12 September 2012

A group of Samoan staff members have received recognition for their work at New Zealand's Waikeria Prison.

The six men started together as case officers at the prison near Te Awamutu in 2005, and received congratulatory letters from the Corrections Department on Friday for the time they've spent there.

The Corrections Pacific Advisor, Sosefo Bourke, says having Pasifika staff working in prisons improves the management of Pacific Islands inmates.

"Understanding why a Pacific Island person would have a different lean in how they look at and perceive certain aspects of the prison environment. A Pacific Island staff would be able to access support reasonably quickly, particularly with the language barrier."

Around 700 Pacific Island staff work with the Corrections Department.

Pacific Island offenders make up around 11 percent of New Zealand's prison population, with nearly 50 percent of these prisoners Samoan.