The Northland Regional Corrections Facility at Ngāwhā welcomed guests last 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 Māori 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, upon their release.
The function was also taken as an opportunity to strengthen the prison's network partnerships with community stakeholders.