Prisoners at Spring Hill Corrections Facility have contributed to an Anzac art installation at the Waikato District Council in Ngaruawahia.

They have created plywood art cutouts of a tank, ship and warplane representing the troops who served and died, and have created other silhouettes representing those who remained at home.  They are on display until the end of May outside and in the foyer of the Council offices, where visitors attending meetings in the Council Chamber can also see a tree ‘yarn bombed’ with knitted red poppies.

 Back row, from left: Spring Hill Corrections Facility staff Andrew McBean, Sean Smith, and Jeremy Preston, with Waikato District Council General Manager Strategy and Support Tony Whittaker, and (front row, from left) the Council Placemaking team of Lianne Van Den Bemd and Betty Connolly.

The plywood silhouettes complement the Council’s district-wide Anzac ‘yarn bombing’ street art project that has encouraged community groups to knit more than 8,000 poppies to decorate trees in 21 townships around the district, and a one-kilometre stretch of the Te Awa cycleway and Perry Bridge in Ngaruawahia.  Waikato district school children have also taken part by knitting camouflage nets decorated with poppies to ‘yarn bomb’ two tanks outside the National Army Museum in Waiouru.

Waikato District Council acting Chief Executive Tony Whittaker says, “The Council welcomes the involvement of Spring Hill Corrections Facility in a project that is bringing our communities together to create visual pleasure in our district and further afield.”

Corrections Instructor Andrew McBean says, “The prisoners were excited by the project and were able to demonstrate their artistic flair and contribute back to their community.  We appreciate the opportunity to be part of this interesting local project which will enhance the skill levels of prisoners and help with their reintegration back into the community.”

Having a job reduces the likelihood of an offender re-offending and means they can provide for themselves and their family, connect with pro-social support and gives them a sense of pride. Engaging in employment and industry training such as carpentry, enables prisoners to gain real work experience and employment skills, making it easier for them to find work on release.