About 600 construction workers are on the 17ha site of New Zealand's biggest new prison and the country's largest public-private partnership, which is recruiting staff now.

SecureFuture, the partnership working with the Department of Corrections, said the Wiri men's prison site was extremely busy and recruitment had begun. The prison is due to open in May next year.

SecureFuture consists of builder Fletcher Construction, maintenance specialist Spotless and operator Serco New Zealand, and has a 25-year contract.

The gatehouse is almost complete at the $300 million project and the three two-level x-shaped "house blocks" with their horizontal bars are being finished.


Mike Inglis of the Scottish Prison Service is the prison's new director.

"Recruitment is starting to ramp up. Most of [it] will start in August," SecureFuture said. "Until then, we are keen to talk to people who may be wondering what it's like to work within the corrections industry."

The company had a stall at the Pasifika Festival at Western Springs at the weekend and is advertising key management roles on its website.

A huge industry training building is taking shape where up to 250 prisoners will be employed or do skills-based training activities.

Serco evenings
* Information evenings for prospective Wiri staff
* April 3, 6.30pm-7.30pm, Otara Leisure Centre, Newbury St
* May 14 and June 25, 6.30pm-7.30pm, Manurewa Leisure Centre, Frances St