New life is the theme of a large carving a Ngawha prisoner has given Bay of Islands Hospital.

The phoenix symbolised in the carving represents the rebirth of the hospital.
The whakairo (carving) was handed over to Bay of Islands Hospital at a ceremony at Northland Region Corrections Facility (NRCF) this month.

The carver, who is from Auckland and had not done much carving before arriving at Ngawha, has given the whakairo two names.

In English it is phoenix, which in Greek mythology is a bird cyclically regenerated or reborn.


Its Maori name, Mai Te Ao Tawhito ki Te Ao Hou, can be translated as "From the old world
to the new world".

At the gifting ceremony, which the prisoner was unable to attend, officials spoke of the appropriateness of the theme in light of the demolition of some of the Bay of Islands Hospital so a better facility could be built.

A corrections officer said the carving also "represents the carver's hope of rising up out of the confines towards freedom".

Carvings made at the prison are almost always gifted to schools, community buildings and whanau.