The work of seven Corrections staff, who have returned from an overseas deployment to Pitcairn Island, was acknowledged this week.
Corrections provided custodial services at Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP) Pitcairn, located on the remote British territory in the Pacific Ocean, for the past 10 months.
The efforts of the small contingent of staff who worked at the prison were recognised with the presentation of a Pacific Pin by Corrections Minister Louise Upston and a commemorative coin by British High Commissioner Jonathan Sinclair.
The Pacific Pin, known as Hoe Akau, is a steering paddle, giving direction and support to other paddlers to ensure the most efficient arrival at a given destination.
“It’s a big ask to bring together a team of staff to help aid another country at such an isolated Pacific island like Pitcairn,” National Commissioner Rachel Leota says.
“These recipients have years of experience with Corrections. Their work at HMP Pitcairn helped assist and strengthen the corrections services in Pitcairn and ensure a safer community on the island.”
Corrections was first deployed to Pitcairn Island from 2006 to 2009 to monitor six offenders found guilty of sexually abusing children.
Corrections was then asked by the British Government to send a second deployment to Pitcairn to provide custodial supervision for an additional 10 months in 2016/17.
“Corrections stepped up to the challenge when called on, which indicates the high level of regard our Corrections Department has in the region,” Mrs Leota says.
During the time at Pitcairn Island, New Zealand corrections officers also helped with community projects such as concreting the Alternative Harbour. The harbour was built to provide a secondary way of getting supplies and people on and off the island in the event that Bounty Bay Harbour was unavailable due to high seas. There’s no air service on Pitcairn Island due to its remoteness.
“In addition to their day-to-day duties, the team made a positive contribution to the community more widely. They worked with locals, taking on community projects in their free time to enrich the lives of all those living on the island,” Mrs Leota says.
The staff are from Otago and Northland corrections facilities, and Whanganui, Auckland and Tongariro prisons.