Pris­on­ers cel­e­brate arts grad­u­a­tion

The Northland Age - - Readers/opinion -

The North­land Re­gional Cor­rec­tions Fa­cil­ity at Nga¯wha¯ once again wel­comed guests on Fri­day to wit­ness the grad­u­a­tion of Level 4 Graphic De­sign and Small Busi­ness cer­tifi­cate pro­grammes students.

The pro­gramme in­cluded a per­for­mance by the Redemption Choir, whose orig­i­nal songs earned a stand­ing ova­tion, and a play about the 28th Ma¯ori Bat­tal­ion that left barely a dry eye in the house.

The play was based on the ser­vice of Hokianga man Hard­ing Waipuke Leef, evolv­ing from sto­ries one of the in­mates had heard from his fam­ily. His story was re­searched on­line, and the in­for­ma­tion gath­ered was worked into a script.

The Redemption Choir was an out­come of Power of Song work­shops with Tina Cross in May this year, while the men who wrote and per­formed were part of the Redemption Per­form­ing Arts Group.

Guests were also given an over­view of the pro­grammes de­liv­ered at prison, de­signed to aid the in­mates’ ed­u­ca­tion and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, and pre­par­ing them for rein­te­gra­tion into the com­mu­nity and em­ploy­ment on their re­lease. The func­tion also strength­ened the prison’s net­work part­ner­ships with com­mu­nity stake­hold­ers. Mem­bers of the Redemption Choir supporting each other in hit­ting the high notes. One of the art works, giv­ing a pow­er­ful mes­sage on a past life.

PIC­TURE / DEB­BIE BEADLE

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