by Executive Assistant, Selena Landman

Prisoners with New Zealand and Samoan heritage participated in the traditional Waitangi Day at Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre.

About 40 prisoners offered a range of Maori songs and traditional Maori Kapa Haka performances to mark the historic day. The Treaty of Waitangi took place in 1840, when representatives of the British Crown and more than 500 Māori chiefs signed what is widely considered to be New Zealand’s founding document.

Guests at the centre were welcomed to country by a didgeridoo performance from two prisoners from the Mununjali – Wakkawakka people.

Representatives from various organisations and Maori communities in Brisbane attended the event, including the Koha Shed Australia, 4 EB Community Radio, Pasifika Women’s Alliance, Heilani Productions and the Hope Centre Services.

The centre’s Education Officer Kalisi Bese, coordinated and organised the event, assisted by Employment Officer, Aleisha Maher, Corrective Services Officer, Norman Hill and Multi-cultural Centre staff.

“It is important at Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre that we take into account cultural values and principles in the assessment, treatment, management and rehabilitation of prisoners of Maori and Pacific heritage,” says Kalisi.

Pictured, Back row, left to right: Pae-Wai Puketapu (The Koha Shed Australia), General Manager, Troy Ittensohn, Programs Officer, Kalisi Bese, Lele Puketapu (The Koha Shed Australia), Ranandy Stanley (Multicultural Liaison & Community Development Coordinator, Hope Centre Services).

Front row, left to right: Wynn Te Kani (Pasifika Womens Alliance & Maori Community Radio), Marama Rose Smith (Maori Cultural Protocol – Heilani Productions), and Employment Officer, Aleisha Maher.