Newly-knighted justice policy reform campaigner and former policeman and prison's chief Sir Kim Workman will be the special guest at the annual Unity Celebrations in Napier on April 24.

Workman will deliver the Robson Lecture and present the Napier Pilot City Trust's annual awards which honour those working whether professionally or voluntarily and unpaid in community work and the social justice sector.

He will be the first to deliver the lecture for a second time, having done so previously in 2009, when leading the Rethinking Crime and Punishment Project.

Initiated by the trust, which was established in 1986 in response to a social justice challenge issued to the city of Napier by Minister of Social Welfare of the time Ann Hercus, the Unity Celebrations evolved from a Unity Walk during the New Zealand sesquicentennial in 1990.

Advertisement

Named in honour of late Secretary of Justice John Robson, foremost in the campaign leading to the Government's 1961 conscience vote to do away with the death penalty in New Zealand, the lecture has been a part of the celebrations for at least 10 years.

Among others to have delivered the lecture or presented the awards have been at least two Governors-General, a Chief Justice and a Minister of Justice, and Dr John Harre, the first principal of the Hawke's Bay Community College, scene of Hercus' challenge and now known as the EIT.

Workman, a police officer for more than 20 years before becoming head of the Prison Service in the exploding jails-population years of 1989-1993, was made a Companion of the Queen's Service Order (QSO) in 2007, and was knighted in the recent New Year Honours for services to prisoner welfare and the justice sector.

Now 78, he last year produced his latest self-penned memoir - Journey Towards Justice.

Pilot City Trust spokesman Mark Cleary, a former principal of Colenso High School (now William Colenso College), said the Unity Celebrations will also include forums on Restorative Justice and the roles local and central government can play in supporting the concept of Napier piloting working alternatives to violence.

The celebrations end with a unity walk from Tangoio Marae, beside State Highway 2 north of Bay View, to Pukemokimoki Marae, on the southern outskirts of the city on April 28.