Pris­on­ers love quilt­ing

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By CHLOE WIN­TER

The women of Aro­hata Women’s Prison have been bit­ten by the quilt­ing bug.

Mem­bers of the Welling­ton Quil­ters Guild teach them patch­work and quilt­ing ev­ery Satur­day.

June Nixey, a found­ing mem­ber of the guild, be­gan the vol­un­tary vis­its with three other mem­bers in 1993.

Ms Nixey said the classes were only sup­posed to last six weeks.

‘‘[But] af­ter two or three weeks, we thought, ‘ We can’t just walk away from this’.’’

Since Jan­uary 1994, vol­un­teer quil­ters have gone to the prison ev­ery week.

Ms Nixey said the prison of­fi­cers were in full sup­port of them, even ask­ing them to teach an­other class in the Drug Treat­ment Unit.

She said they were al­lowed to teach only in the low-se­cu­rity part of the prison, for safety rea­sons.

‘‘I have a ra­dio, but I have never, ever felt threat­ened and I think if I did I wouldn’t go in there.’’

She said they had re­ceived some lovely let­ters from the women they had taught.

‘‘They get a chance to make some­thing for their chil­dren, for their part- ners, for some­body who is look­ing af­ter their chil­dren.

Ms Nixey said the women made some amaz­ing quilts and keep al­bums of all their work.

Welling­ton Quil­ters Guild also sup­ports the community by do­nat­ing quilts to the Welling­ton Women’s Refuge and Te Whare Rokiroki Maori Women’s Refuge.

They also do­nate small quilts, used as knee rugs, to Welling­ton City Mis­sion.

Welling­ton Quil­ters Guild is hold­ing an ex­hi­bi­tion at the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts Gallery from Septem­ber 27 to Oc­to­ber 28.

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