A prominent Ngapuhi elder says the Ombudsman's report on conditions in Ngawha prison is "gutting" for those who had high hopes for the facility.
Hone Sadler says he was one of the kaumatua who were promised by the government in 2004 that the new prison near Kaikohe would help Māori inmates turn their lives around.
He says the report of prisoners being denied water and forced to relieve themselves in the exercise yard is like something out of medieval times.
Hone Sadler says the government also promised that Ngawha would house Northland prisoners so whanau could visit them, and that promise has also been broken.
Minister for Corrections Kelvin Davis spoke to Corin Dann about the conditions at Ngawha.