Official opening of the Auckland South Corrections Facility, Kohuora

Friday, May 8, 2015 - 11:14

Tena koutou katoa
Rau Rangatira ma.
Tuatahi, Ko te wehi ki te Atua,
me whakakororia tona ingoa I nga wa katoa.

Tuarua, mihi ki a ratou kua wehe atu ki te po.
Haere atu ra.
Haere atu ra.
Haere atu ra. 
Ratou ki a ratou, tatou ki a tatou.

Tuatoru, mihi nunui atu ki te Kahui Ariki. 
Te Kingi nui, Tūheitia me tona whānau I tenei wa.

Ki nga Ahi Kaaroa o tenei wahi, 
Aakitai Waiohua,
me Ngati Te Ata hoki,
ka nui te mihi ki a koutou katoa.

Noreira, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena tatou katoa. 

Oute faatalofa I le paia ma le mamalu o le aofia
Susuga faafeagaiga
Tupu ma tamalii
Faletua ma tausi
Aemaise le paia lasilasi ua faatasi mai I lenei taeao
Talofa Talofa Talofa Lava


I acknowledge everyone who has taken the time to come to this opening. I welcome you to our newest prison - Kohuora.

Welcome to my parliamentary colleagues, and in particular Hon Anne Tolley.

Dame Cath Tizard, Dame Beverley Wakem, Lady Heeni Phillips-Williams

My capable Corrections chief executive Ray Smith, Our partners - SecureFuture chairman Brian Harrison, Fletcher Building chief executive Mark Adamson, ACC chairwoman Paula Rebstock and Serco Asia Pacific chief executive Mark Irwin who is here from Sydney.

Our employment and community partners, community leaders, friends.


One of the world’s most famous prisoners once said:

“No one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.”

That prisoner should have some wisdom in this area, he was imprisoned in South Africa for 27 years and his name is of course Nelson Mandela.

We are at a crossroads. Do we really want to lock up our prisoners and throw away the key? Some people say we should, I do not.

Do we really want to write off some of our most disadvantaged citizens and consign them to the scrap heap without at least trying to help them.  Is this the kind of society we want? The nation we want to be?

Or do we want to be a nation that does not turn its back when there is a possibility one criminal can be saved; educated, upskilled, released and employed.

For every prisoner we save, we save a family, a community and in my view advance a country.

Make no mistake. Prison is punishment, as it should be. You commit a crime, you are deprived of your liberties, freedoms and even certain privileges.

We should also never forget the rights of victims and their families – their feelings and emotions – they are important.

This prison is about transforming the lives of offenders so they return to our victims rehabilitated and so we in future have fewer victims. 

And this is why we now have this prison, Auckland South Corrections Facility, Kohuora – Coming out of the mist into the world of the living.

Prison, staff and purpose

You join us here today from many walks of life –from local and central government, those responsible for funding, building and managing this new facility, those who represent the local community.

No matter where we come from, what side of the House we sit on, or where our interests lie, we come together today with a unified purpose.

We share a desire to reduce crime and keep the public safe. We share a commitment to reducing re-offending by transforming lives.

Today, we stand on a site that just five short years ago was farmland.

In September 2012, Hon Anne Tolley stood on this site to turn the first sod and signal the start of construction of a 960-bed prison.

It was through her vison and leadership alongside the commitment of SecureFuture that the land has been transformed into what you see today.

Kohuora has been built by Fletcher Construction to specification, ahead of time and to budget.

During the construction around 3500 people worked here, with about 1500 of them from the community surrounding the prison.

We have a high security prison that can securely hold nearly 1,000 men in a modern and innovative environment; purpose-built to reduce reoffending.

Few of us would question the need for offenders to be located close to their families and support networks.

This helps with their rehabilitation and re-integration.

Many of you have been instrumental in getting us to this point, and many of you will continue to play an essential role now ASCF is open.

It is through the passion and commitment that you bring to your work that will help us reach the government’s target of reducing reoffending by 25% by 2017 and improving reintegration.

Closing remarks

Serco and Corrections know they cannot reduce reoffending by themselves.  Working with you and your communities is a crucial part of the partnership. I thank you for your support.

These men will have access to the latest tools in education, training, and programmes. The aim here is to get these men into employment.

We know jobs are the best passport out of hardship, away from welfare dependency and reoffending.  They allow them to better look after their families.  To feed and clothe their children and to enjoy our New Zealand’s high quality of life. 

More importantly, it will mean fewer victims of crime.

This is the kind of society we want to live in and what we want our nation to be judged on.

While I am proud to be here today I am even more excited about the good that will be achieved here in the many years to come.

Unveiling of Plaque

It is my great honour to officially open Kohuora – Auckland South Corrections Facility, on this day Friday 8 May 2015

As the prison grew from fallow ground, may we see the people who come here grow and bring about lasting change in their lives.