Topic: Prison

Kī-o-rahi introduced into Prison as rehabilitation for young offenders

By Aroha Treacher
  • North Island: East Coast

The traditional Māori game of kī-o-rahi has been introduced into Hawke's Bay Regional Prison to help rehabilitate young offenders in prison, the only prison in the country to do so.

Inside the wire, these young men are getting their first taste of New Zealand's oldest game - kī-o-rahi.

Leonie Aben of Te Ara Poutama says, "This is the only prison of the 19 prisons that delivering kī-o-rahi we see the sport as a way of motivating prisoners.  Influencing them to be better people it's a vehicle to get them to do the right things."

Sean Thompson who is in charge of kī-o-rahi believes, "It's about being able to include everyone, it's completely inclusive it's nothing to do with exclusive."

It is kī-o-rahi, but not as you know it.  For these young offenders, all tackles and contact has been taken out for now, instead they must rely on speed and strategy.

"Doing that is part of our delivery around the introduction of kī-o-rahi, it gives them some others strategies to deal with violence rather than bashing people," says Aben.

Aged between 16-20, if well behaved, they'll all get the opportunity to attend practise three times a week for the next three months.

By teaching tikanga and all aspects of manaaki tangata through this sport, Corrections hope it will create lastly change on prisons most vulnerable when they leave.

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