The 16 men rioting at Waikeria Prison over an alleged number of human rights issues gave themselves up peacefully at 12.37pm today.
They received food, water, access to medical staff, the ability to speak with kaumātua (elders), and will soon be transported to other prisons.
Only one person was injured, a prisoner who was attacked when they attempted to surrender on New Year's Eve, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis said.
During the six-day standoff, rioting prisoners lit fires and threw debris at Department of Corrections staff, forcing the evacuation of the top jail.
The top jail has been completely destroyed and can no longer be used, Davis said.
"There is no excuse for what these men have done," Corrections chief executive Jeremy Lightfoot said.
"The actions by the men exposed them, other prisoners, our staff, and emergency services to significant danger."
Māori Party co-leader Rawiri Waititi first announced the surrendering of the 16 men in a statement around 1pm.
Waititi arrived at the prison this morning after travelling through the night to meet the 16 inmates after they asked to speak with him, he said.
"They were ready to come down," Waititi said. "Naturally, they were tired and hungry but still very determined to see change.
The majority of those involved in the event were members of the Mongols and Comancheros gangs, Davis says.
Five of the men were deportees from Australia, with three subject to returning offender orders because of their criminal convictions.
Two-hundred prisoners were evacuated from the top jail, with the riots significantly impacting the remaining 500 inmates at the lower jail site, Lightfoot said.
The prisoners allegedly never raised any concerns about their living conditions before starting the riot on Tuesday last week.
Lightfoot says no complaints had been lodged and Davis does not believe the 16 men rioted for the reasons they stated they were, he told media today.
The minister thanked emergency services, Corrections staff, kaumātua, and tangata whenua for their efforts, support, and guidance over the standoff.
Davis did not speak out in fear of encouraging other prisoners for taking similar action, saying the inmates wanted political attention from the rioting.
Asked about his apparent lack of communication amid the rioting, Davis says his role was to leave the response to the experts.
Corrections' incident controller Jeanette Burns says staff attempted to end the rioting last night but were met with force by the inmates.
After retreating to prevent injury, Corrections received word around 11.30am they were ready to surrender and just over an hour later they were all off the roof and secured.
"At all times, Corrections were in control of the situation," Burns said.
Two reviews have been commissioned to overlook the rioting event, Lightfoot says.
The first is an operational review to be undertaken by the chief custodial officer and should be completed within three months.
The second is a wider review to be undertaken by the office of the chief inspector and should be completed within six to nine months.
The Human Rights Commission has called for an inquiry to be launched into the incident.
Chief Commissioner Paul Hunt says it's a mistake to see it as an isolated one-off.
"Whatever triggered this protest, poor prison conditions are a vital part of the context.
"Last August, the Ombudsman published a report on Waikeria and concluded that the high-security complex is no longer fit for purpose.
"Only last month the Human Rights Commission published a report that demonstrated serious failings in the prison system.
"Let's see what an inquiry establishes, but keep in mind that the Ombudsman's team of investigators has been telling us for years that conditions in many of our prisons are sub-standard and do not meet basic international human rights requirements."
The inmates were protesting about a number of things, from their water reportedly being brown, bedding being unclean, and being fed food from paper bags.
Lightfoot says the reasons for the inmates' actions will be considered as part of the review process but they were not previously aware of any issues.
"We are not aware of complaints being made by the men in relation to the conditions, and this has been confirmed in my conversations with the chief inspector," he said.
Waititi, the MP for Waiariki, says people must serve the time for their crimes but they deserve to be treated in a humane way.
"Even prison guards acknowledged to us that the state of the unit was unacceptable," he said.
"They have achieved what they set out to do when they embarked on bringing attention to their maltreatment in prison.
"When injustice is normalised, defiance and protest is necessary. These men are the product of such injustices and through their protest they have changed the face of Corrections forever.
"These men are not animals, they are humans; they are brothers, fathers and sons and are deserving of better treatment.
"If you treat a person like a dog, they will act like one and that is the saddest part of this whole saga; a failed criminal justice system adopted from a land 19,000 kilometres away."
The last major New Zealand prison riot was at Spring Hill in 2013 but it was resolved within nine hours, paling in comparison to the Waikeria unrest.
The Waikeria unrest is the longest and potentially most destructive at any New Zealand jail for decades.
It's not immediately clear how much the chaos will cost taxpayers, but the Spring Hill riot in 2013 caused $10 million in damage.
A Corrections report into the Spring Hill riot found inmates got drunk on homebrew, and that the prison's management team was divided and dysfunctional.
At the time, Corrections said the Spring Hill disturbance was the biggest, most destructive case of "concerted indiscipline" in any jail in the 21st Century.
This week's Waikeria riots - or protests - dwarf other prison disturbances in recent years.
At Ngawha prison near Kaikohe in Northland in 2012, a riot squad was deployed after inmates damaged cells and lit fires.
An Ombudsman's report released in August 2020 found conditions at Waikeria in some cases failed to meet minimum UN standards.
The Ombudsman found meal times across the prison did not reflect usual meal times, and many inmates voiced concern about water quality.
Some cells were run down, with chunks of vinyl missing from floors, some windows did not have curtains and toilets did not have lids.
Lightfoot says work has been underway to improve the conditions of the prison since the report.
The closure of the top jail was imminent, with Corrections building a new facility to replace it which is due to be finished next year.