Toward the end of last year, Borallon Training and Correctional Centre (BTCC) hosted a Multicultural Family Day.

This event was created to embrace the cultural diversity in the prisoner population in the centre. A prisoner steering committee assisted with the organisation of the event, including a number of cultural displays and activities. There were a number of invited guests including Elders from Aboriginal, Maori, and Samoan cultural groups and over 200 families enjoyed the day, some travelling from interstate and overseas.

The event commenced with a traditional Welcome to Country, followed by cultural addresses by Elders from the Maori and Samoan communities. Polynesian prisoners then combined their cultures in a performance that showcased a traditional welcome and a challenge of support through the Haka.

“This event was the first time we’ve had a panel in place to be able to plan the day,” says Manager, ThroughCare, Martina Gavin. “All of the prisoners were really willing to participate and they were very excited about the opportunity to engage in the planning.”

“It was amazing to see prisoners that were involved practising for at least six weeks in the lead up. They were very proud of being able to celebrate their cultures and share that with everybody,” she explains.

In his speech to the visitors, one prisoner outlined the value in the theme for the day as an opportunity for a small piece of normality:

“We thank you all for coming today. We are very glad to have you here and hope you enjoy the day with your loved ones. We are going to have some traditional dances, games, great food from different cultures, an art competition, and more – but most importantly, time with our family in a normal setting.”

The event focused on a message of cultural support, respect and significance, combined with the importance of family, and embracing the opportunities provided at Borallon Training and Correctional Centre.

Officers at the centre were dedicated to ensuring the success of the day, from planning security clearances, to the logistics of processing visitors through the gates.

“I’ve never seen anything like it before in my experience in corrections. To be able to see the enjoyment that all of the visitors got – and to see the families that travelled interstate and internationally to attend and share in the day was really nice,” says Martina.

Pictured above:

Back row: Jonathan Morgan, Maureen Baker, Wynn TeKani, Peter Henderson, Manuia Aloailli, Dominic Feaunati, Pearl Feaunati
Middle row: Jodie Saunders, Sheryl Thompson, Shannen Rickus, Patsy Beswick, Celia Watergo, Louise Coutts, Tu Tawha, Ruta Aloailli, Tiger Singh, Robert Barton
Front Row: Rangi TeHau, Faye Carr, Olga Rudloph, Georgina Te Maira, Jenny Ratcliff, Melita Orcher, Maureen Wilson, Lucy Morgan