Otago Daily Times

Award for pro­gramme ‘sewing seeds’ to help Maori in­mates

- EMMA PERRY emma.perry@odt.co.nz Prison · Crime · Dunedin · Otago · Otago Polytechnic · New Zealand · Tikitiki

A DUNEDIN man rev­o­lu­tion­is­ing in­car­cer­a­tion for Maori is the re­cip­i­ent of a na­tional award.

Rue­Jade Mor­gan has been run­ning the tikanga pro­gramme Te Hokai Manea Tipuna (the glow­ing foot­steps of our an­ces­tors) at the Otago Cor­rec­tions Fa­cil­ity since 2017.

The pro­gramme aims to in­spire its mostly Maori par­tic­i­pants to make pos­i­tive changes in their lives by un­der­stand­ing who they are and where they come from.

The course runs once a week for eight weeks a to­tal of four times a year, to re­ha­bil­i­tate in­mates through tikanga, ed­u­ca­tion, and mar­tial arts.

‘‘It’s about re­em­pow­er­ing, re­con­nect­ing and sow­ing seeds for pris­on­ers . . . The ma­jor­ity of those seeds are bloom­ing,’’ Mr Mor­gan said.

The Otago Polytech­nic lec­turer said the course stemmed from his own ex­pe­ri­ence in prison and a wish to see Maori in prison change their lives.

‘‘Be­ing the change I want to see in the world un­der­pins ev­ery­thing I do . . . ‘I know I can’t save ev­ery­body but I like to hold the door ajar.’’

Yes­ter­day, he was awarded the Arts Ac­cess Aotearoa Maui Tik­i­tiki a Taranga award for 2020.

The judges said his work epit­o­mised the qual­i­ties of

Maui: in­no­va­tion, cre­ativ­ity and lead­er­ship.

‘‘A for­mer pris­oner, he shares his life ex­pe­ri­ence and self­aware­ness with oth­ers through his pro­gramme.’’

Mr Mor­gan said he was qui­etly ‘‘proud as punch’’ to re­ceive the award.

‘‘I’ve done my fam­ily proud and that’s all that mat­ters.’’

He has earned two highly com­mended awards at the event pre­vi­ously, in 2018 and 2019.

His goal was to ex­pand the pro­gramme, and there had been some devel­op­ment on that front.

‘‘If it is work­ing down here, why not repli­cate it.’’

 ?? PHOTO: GRE­GOR RICHARD­SON ?? Be the change . . . Rue­Jade Mor­gan is the re­cip­i­ent of an award recog­nis­ing his work with Otago Cor­rec­tions Fa­cil­ity in­mates.
PHOTO: GRE­GOR RICHARD­SON Be the change . . . Rue­Jade Mor­gan is the re­cip­i­ent of an award recog­nis­ing his work with Otago Cor­rec­tions Fa­cil­ity in­mates.

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