Inmates' special request: to celebrate Matariki

By Heta Gardiner

Matariki celebrations are being embraced by more and more people every year in Aotearoa.  This year, the inmates at Kohuora Auckland South Corrections Facility also wanted to get amongst it.

It was the inmates themselves who requested that they be able to celebrate Matariki through an expression of tikanga. 

Their wishes were granted, they performed haka, waiata and hīmene in the early hours of this morning in preparation.  The inmates had help from Māori officer Kapi Peita. 

Peita said the inmates needed to show a level of commitment to be included.

“Some of the men weren't present this morning because they didn't learn the words to the songs.  That is the environment that we foster here, they need to work hard so that the kaupapa- and themselves- can reach its full potential.”

The prison’s director Mike Inglis believes that there are many benefits that will arise from the initiative.

“Programs like this are essential...especially for things like setting goals for the future, making sure we lay the wero down for each other to make sure they are challenging each other appropriately and respectfully- and making sure the men are taking appropriate steps before they go back into their whānau, their iwi, their hapū,” he says.

In 2019, Matariki will reappear in the dawn sky around the 25th-28th June.