New community Corrections site opens in Ōtautahi

By Mare Haimona-Riki

A new site for Canterbury Corrections has been established, providing a new permanent home for Corrections community services in Christchurch. 

“It was a supermarket and in bygone days,” says Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis, who was in attendance at the unveiling. 

“It's been converted, totally stripped out and turned into what it is now, which is a wonderful facility both for the community here but also the people who have to come here .”

The new facility is called Rāwhiti and has been in the works for over 10 years now, after the original office was rendered uninhabitable following the 2011 Canterbury earthquakes.

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Canterbury District Manager for Department of Corrections Toni Stewart says her team has been working out of two temporary locations for over a decade now, and this new building was well worth the wait. 

“So to get to this point, although it has taken a long time, obviously there's been some challenges finding a suitable facility for the work that we do.”

The establishment of the centre is a major milestone for Corrections Services in Canterbury, as it will cater for up to 55 staff and 80 people on sentences and orders from Monday to Friday. 

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Although there are nearly 8,000 people in prison across the motu, there are more than 26,000 on community sentences and orders living in the community.

“And that's why a facility like this is really exciting because it means we can bring the services to the people. So we can invite a whole lot of other partner agencies and NGOs and services to come and work alongside us here because they work with a lot of the same people that we do,” Owens says.