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Doing Real Justice

photo of Phil McCarthyfrom Phil McCarthy
National Director, Prison Fellowship NZ

I spent 14 years as a General Manager in the Department of Corrections, 10 of those with responsibility for the Prison Service.  I always used to say that I wasn’t in the job because I ‘was into keys’.

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Managing volunteers, why is it important?

2014 Vanisa CEO_portrait1-5497_scoopfrom Vanisa Dhiru
Chief Executive, Volunteering New Zealand

Volunteering takes a certain group of people who enjoy dedicating their time to making a positive difference—and for that we all need to be thankful. People who are really passionate about getting out there and giving their time to help communities.

While volunteers are the visible faces of their organisation, behind them are the behind-the-scenes people who organise them: The Volunteer Managers. It’s easy to overlook or underestimate their hard work.

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Communication – we’re in a different world…

img-ros-riceFrom Ros Rice
Executive Officer
Community Networks Aotearoa

Do you find sometimes that you come across people who proudly state their ability to be Luddites in this modern world?

It is often almost a badge of honour.  “I do not use Facebook!  I refuse to go onto websites!  I would never purchase anything off the Net!  This new-fangled inter-webby thing is just too much for me to get my head around!”

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Go for it!

photo of Peter Glensorfrom Peter Gelnsor
Chair of ComVoices

I’ve just come off the phone to Radio NZ.  They wanted to know more about the ComVoices survey we released a few days ago. Read more »

Leave No One Behind

photo fo Tess Casey

From Tess Casey
NZ Vocational and Support Services (NZVASS)

I’m feeling out of step with my fellow New Zealanders.

I’ve just watched successive Leaders’ Debates and followed the subsequent political commentary in the media. Most of it is obsessed with sound-bites and picking a winner and loser.

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Success at international student winter games

New Zealand snowboarder Natalie Good has won the Gold Medal in the women’s competition in the snowboard slopestyle event at the International University Sports Federation’s 2013 Winter Universiade in Trentino, Italy.


It is the seven-strong New Zealand team’s first medal and the first gold medal for New Zealand in the history of the biannual event. The awards ceremony is being held overnight on the final day of the event.

Good won the event with 81.25 points. Further details and a photo are available at

Good is studying a conjoint degree combining a Bachelor of Management Studies and a Bachelor of Law at the University of Waikato.

She currently holds a Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship – awarded to students who are high academic achievers who are also achieving in the arts or sports – and in 2014 has the opportunity to travel to Khumba Valley in Nepal next year, and work with and see first-hand the community projects Sir Edmund Hillary started.

Slopestyle is a type of winter sporting event where the goal is to perform the most difficult tricks while getting the highest amplitude off of jumps, with an emphasis on performing different types of tricks instead of doing one great trick repeatedly. Slopestyle is one of the most popular events at the Winter X Games. It will become an Olympic event, in both skiing and snowboarding forms, at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

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Guest Opinion: Government and NGO partnerships

Community Scoop Op-Ed By Iris Clanachan CEO Community Housing Aotearoa

NGOs have the capacity to innovate and adapt more quickly than Government and this can be a threat to ministries. If, however, Government and NGOs are working together and sharing their knowledge and skills, New Zealand as a whole can benefit. NGOs suffer from a lack of resources and a general estrangement from the State. Unless they become partners with Government, and not competitors, capacity-building initiatives will continue to be stunted. Read more »

Featured content: Prisoner artwork builds bridges with community


Artworks and carvings created by men in Te Whare Tirohanga Māori, the Maori Focus Unit at Hawke’s Bay Regional Prison, are gifted to schools, marae and other organisations in the community every couple of weeks.

“We’re always looking at ideas and initiatives to support the community,” says Lawrence Ereatara, Principal Corrections Officer. “When the men are released they return to their respective communities.

“A number of the men’s tamariki and mokopuna attend local schools. By gifting taonga to the schools and community organisations, we’re strengthening our relationships, assisting in reintegration, and opening up possibilities for future community support and opportunities.”

Earlier this year, for instance, Lawrence and some of his staff arrived at Flaxmere College and presented the school with a carved meeting table, a taiaha (spear), koikoi (short spear) and heru (ornamental comb).

“We presented the table to the school, the koikoi and taiaha to the head boy and girl, and the heru to the school principal,” Lawrence says. “Our aim was to uplift and enhance the mana of the school, the students and the principal with strong leadership and future direction.”

Flaxmere College principal Louise Anaru says the school was “overwhelmed and honoured” to receive the taonga.

“The kōrero tuku iho (history) behind the pieces means so much to all of us. It was a heart-warming and spiritual experience, which inspired our students,” she says.

There are 60 men in Te Whare Tirohanga Māori, all involved in tikanga programmes. They specialise in different areas, including bone and wood carving, flax weaving and painting. It is one of five Maori Focus Units in prisons around the country. Their aim is to reduce the risk of re-offending by helping prisoners understand and value their Māori culture.

Lawrence says the men take pride in creating beautifully crafted and often intricate work. “Knowing they are giving back to the community gives them a real sense of pride.”

The men create work that reflects a particular kaupapa, and acknowledges their Māori heritage, their whakapapa.

“With Flaxmere College, I gave the kaupapa to the carvers and we looked at certain taonga. So, for example, the taiaha and koikoi represent the challenges and the need to stand strong, while the heru represents wahine toa, encompassing love, nurturing, mana and respect.”

Some of the work created by the prisoners is commissioned; some is gifted. It might be work for awards at local wānanga and schools; carved works at kohanga reo and kindergartens; or large pieces for public places such as hospitals and hospices.

Other local schools to benefit recently from the gifting of work are Richmond School in Napier and Twyford School in Hastings. The Richmond School carvings depict the story of kaitiaki Moremore, son of Pania of the Reef, who was seen in many forms overseeing and protecting the rivers and coastline.

The Twyford School carvings are based around the tau ihu and tau rapa of a waka. They depict the blending of cultures in today’s world, the kōrero that comes down from the heavens, and life’s journey.

“When the work is presented to the community, there is a formal handover process,” Lawrence explains. “I ensure staff are in uniform, and we explain the history and kōrero behind the work. It helps to foster the relationship between Corrections and the community.”

It also helps break down barriers for the men when they are released back into the community.

“A lot of the men are broken and introverted when they come into the unit and the work we do with them brings them out of themselves. Knowing their work is very visible and appreciated by the community is a great source of pride for them. And any photos and letters of appreciation from the community can be added to their CVs.”

For more information, please contact:

Iona McNaughton, Communications Manager, Arts Access Aotearoa