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Filed under: General — Downunder @ 3:54 pm Sat 25th January 2014

Inside Arohata Women’s Prison

I saw this on as a feature story with a picture up and the first thing that came to mind was what does Arohata mean in Maori.

I (and I think many people would) know that aroha translates as love.

The women sit in a semi-circle, heads down, quiet. They’re there to talk about their most private experiences, many of them traumatic to recall. Five women with five long stories of abuse, drugs and violence.

Their stories and ages differ, but all are living behind the walls at Arohata Women’s Prison.

As best I can see is that this might mean ‘without love’.

Arohata Women’s prison – the woman we no longer love – if there is a better translation than that I would like to know.

The last thing they want to do is talk to a reporter. The sight of a cameraman aiming in their direction makes them shift uncomfortably.

I ask why they are here, what they have been doing.

“Relationships”, one mumbles.

“I just want to get better for my kids,” another says.

You may be wondering why I posted this.

I couldn’t help thinking about a man condemned to the prison of the Family Court jurisdiction and just wanting better for his kids.

His prison bars are not set in concrete walls, they are held in place by the legal forces of our country.

What do you think?

(Arohata – bridge. See also Arawhata – bridge)


  1. Yes sat in a quite circle scheming how to further drain the nz law system and winz and DSW and then make it back on time to set there current partner put for assault

    Comment by F Carlisle — Sat 25th January 2014 @ 5:11 pm

  2. Until you experience being inside I don’t think it is easy to relate.
    Yes there are traps people find themselves in on the outside but being in a cage and having the key locked on you is a totally different experience.

    Comment by Allan Harvey — Sat 25th January 2014 @ 5:22 pm

  3. Prison [the physical one] must be horrible, I would hate to be there. Prison does very little for any inmates and for society. It is easy to say that prisoners deserve to be there but the statistics do not back up this idea. 67% of prisoners have experienced the downfalls of cyf care, 80% of prisoners have a diagnosed mental illness. I wonder if more money spent on mental health and a greater degree of professionalism within a smaller cyf would be better spending of the tax payer dollar than our prisons.
    As for people who suffer because of family court drawbacks and the bias frequently shown within the court against males this truly is another prison which is unnecessary.
    It could be that the techniques shown in Arohata prison work and if they do then similar type programs should be used in other prisons.
    Both men and women normally want better for their kids and I wish family courts, cyf, the police and the judiciary would recognise this and act accordingly.
    I suppose I had better get on and design a flying pig that would be more likely to succeed than persuading cyf etc that they need to rethink their ideas

    Comment by andreas — Sat 25th January 2014 @ 9:53 pm

  4. I’m meant to feel sympathy for women in prison …. why?

    Comment by OMG you're &*^(%$ — Sun 26th January 2014 @ 9:29 am

  5. How about some empathy and support for all the men arrested and prosecuted and punished/jailed for texting or emailing or driving down what the cops have decided is the wrong street, or defending themselves when their wife or former wife attacks them?
    How about some sympathy for those who take their own possessions from their own home or call the police because their daughter says she doesn’t like having sleepovers at strange mens houses and strange men staying at her home – and the police arrest him for it.
    The police gestapo nazis call it ‘Breach of Protection Order”.
    The public has no idea what that is but it sounds bad and it is called ‘domestic violence’ by the judge so it must be bad.

    We need to educate the public and be more visible and make people aware of the domestic ‘violence’ industry and the ‘child support scam’ which are all tied into the Family Court and the money grabbing of those involved in it and the $ grabbing of the government.

    Do people know that they no longer have any parental rights to their children and that the state owns them and merely allows them to take care of them. They now only have ‘responsibilities’ to their children and the government can take them away with the slightest excuse due to the Domestic Violence Act and the Care of Children Act etc.

    If you stand by and do nothing while someone else’s rights are taken away then you are also giving up your own rights and it is only a matter of time until you get them taken from you.

    Wake up people and get together and protest – Governments rely on your selfishness and fear!!

    Comment by Sane in an insane world — Tue 28th January 2014 @ 12:37 pm

  6. Hi Sane,
    Just for you today we have what you ask for.

    It is American but our brothers over there have the same issues. Unfortunatley at US $1200 I have not purchased a screening but you can buy the book or CD’s or other merchandise in ntheir store that opened for the first time today.

    Stay sane it is better than the other options

    Comment by Allan Harvey — Tue 28th January 2014 @ 6:10 pm

  7. Dear Sane in an insane world, Real caughts do enforce their orders. You speak as if fathers in NZ have to accept that parenting orders will never be enforced against a mother. A caught order isn’t worth the paper it is written on, if enforcement requires further, expensive and risky legal applications, to obtain enforcement. Any caught is only as valuable, as it’s enforcement is speedy and effective.

    The NZ familycaught$ plays games, to strip parents of their money without providing quality services. This failure to enforce parenting orders, is incompetent thievery, little short of cosa nostra mafioso corruption.

    A positive example is Oregon, in USA.

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Tue 28th January 2014 @ 10:12 pm

  8. Thanks for the link Jerry

    I did wonder where this story might go from here.

    Comment by Downunder — Tue 29th August 2017 @ 6:30 am

  9. Over 800 female prisoners and likely to rise.

    What went wrong?

    Comment by Evan Myers — Thu 8th November 2018 @ 6:21 pm

  10. This creates many questions.
    Essentially, women prisoners are being treated badly.
    Everyone is involved, a female researcher, has spoken.
    They have found a statistic with bias.
    The world has turned upside down, for the corrections CEO.
    They are now the offenders.
    The Human Rights Commission, has policy, on the issue.–report

    “A woman held down by four guards who forcibly removed her underwear is among those whose human rights abuses are documented in a “horrifying” report into the degrading treatment of wāhine Māori in prisons.”

    Since when is strip searching horrifying.
    Men have there rear ends checked, as a normalised event.
    It’s one of the things you sign up to, when you break the law.
    Non invasive, detection machines exist.
    Maybe in prisons, they can be introduced, for men.
    Just as they should be introduced for women.

    Since when does a prisoner behaving badly, or lost the plot.
    Not result in action by guards.
    Clothing, a necessary change, to manage risks.
    The suicidal prisoner, an obligation, for action.

    “The only explanation I could come up with was that it’s a combination of racism and sexism that leads to this ‘she’s a little woman, we’re going to discipline her’,” Shalev, a research associate at the Centre for Criminology at the University of Oxford, told Stuff.

    Geez, how did she analyse that resultant conclusion.
    “She’s a little woman”
    And how it results, in the desire to discipline.
    This researcher, can’t have ever seen woman fighting.
    Or when they can’t control, there hate of a person.
    The verbal tirade, that doesn’t stop.
    The master, manipulator.

    Ignored in the research.
    The demographics of prisoners.
    The type of people that go to prison.
    What is that for men.
    And what is it for women.

    We know bias exists in every stage of justice.
    Men more likely to get arrested, for the same thing.
    Men more likely to be prosecuted.
    Men getting harsher sentences.
    So what is the demographics, of the prisoner.
    The female prisoners, fine tuned by bias.
    Only when there is no choice, is a female prisoner created.

    Logic dictates, you should have, more difficult female prisoners.
    The research, presenting things as being due to bias.
    Not as the exposing of resultants, of bias against men.
    The system imprisons men, who are less difficult.

    More from the researcher.
    “Pepper spray should not be used in women’s prison at all, she said.”
    Does she propose, it should not be used, in men’s prisons.
    One human being violent, is the same as another.

    “Others were prevented from having phone contact with their babies.”
    I am experiencing the emotion of disbelief.
    The treatment of men vs women, vastly different.
    If only the babies, in prison, could actually talk.
    Would they ask to see there father.

    New women’s policy is being made.
    Everyone is making them.

    Comment by DJ Ward — Thu 4th November 2021 @ 8:54 am

  11. Hey. Very informative article. I`ve learned a lot from it. Seems like I read something like this on

    Comment by Mila — Mon 17th January 2022 @ 10:02 pm

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