Farming, forestry and horticulture factsheet

The Department of Corrections offers trade training and qualifications in the primary sector in twelve of our prisons throughout New Zealand.


The Department of Corrections has a number of farms across the country where a variety of activities concerned with the growing of crops, caring for livestock and other
farming duties including fencing and general maintenance are carried out.


Some prisons provide forestry training by harvesting forests to ensure long-term sustainability. General silviculture within the forest is carried out and logs from the forest are sold to New Zealand sawmills and also exported overseas.


There are a number of nurseries and training operations across the country where horticulture skills can be learnt.

An organic market garden at Christchurch Men’s Prison supplies produce to the market. We offer a range of on the job training, training courses and hands on experience including:

  • Nursery and organic market gardens
  • Internal and external grounds maintenance crews and contract work parties
  • Sheep, dairy, pig and dry stock farming and associated duties
  • Forestry crews
  • Forklift operations

We offer the following qualifications:

  • National Certificate in Horticulture
  • National Certificate in Agriculture
  • National Certificate in Forestry
  • National Certificate in Pork Production
  • Growsafe Certificate
  • Certificate in Forklift Operations

We also partner with accredited tertiary institutions to deliver quality training to prisoners.

An employment pathway

Hera*, 30, is a prisoner at Auckland Region Women’s Corrections Facility (ARWCF). Hera’s working day starts at 9:30 am, when she goes to work/study at the prison’s Horticulture
Training Facility. With the help of her Horticulture Instructor, Hera has received both level 2 and level 3 National Certificates in Horticulture. At her graduation ceremony, an ex-prisoner
from ARWCF who now runs a gardening and lawn-mowing business, came to speak about her success and Hera is fired up to follow the same path. She’s hoping to continue her study with a level 4 certificate through the Open Polytechnic and then go into business with her mum and dad.

*not her real name


Farming and Forestry

  • Spring Hill Corrections Facility - Dairy
  • Waikeria Prison - Dairy
  • Tongariro/Rangipo Prison
  • Hawke’s Bay Regional Prison
  • Manawatu Prison
  • Christchurch Men’s Prison
  • Otago Corrections Facility
  • Invercargill Prison

Horticulture Training and Qualifications

  • Northland Region Corrections Facility
  • Auckland Prison
  • Auckland Region Women’s
  • Corrections Facility
  • Spring Hill Corrections Facility
  • Waikeria Prison
  • Tongariro Prison
  • Whanganui Prison
  • Christchurch Men’s Prison
  • Christchurch Women’s Prison
  • Rolleston Prison
  • Otago Corrections Facility