31 Jul 2013

Southland runanga wins award for prison programme

7:05 am on 31 July 2013

Te Runanga o Waihopai has been working with the Corrections Department since 2001, but the Maori cultural arts programme was introduced in 2011.

On Tuesday night, a group of Murihiku kaumatua were at Parliament to receive the Big 'A' Prison Arts Community Award for 2013.

Cyril Gilroy, who works with the inmates, says the two tikanga programmes and the arts programme are helping the offenders to turn their lives around because they get a sense of pride in what they do.

He says it so terrific that Maori male offenders have these sorts of programmes to help them understand who they are, and as a creative outlet to keep them occupied and develop their art skills.

Mr Gilroy says the arts programme isn't just for Maori, and all prisoners who are deemed appropriate by Corrections are welcome to join in.

The Southern Regional Commissioner for the Department of Corrections, Ian Bourke, says more than 120 inmates are involved in the programme in prisons across the country.