|Entry completed by:||Alicia Craig|
|Category Selection||Reminder that events and initiatives must have occurred in the eligible period: 7 September 2020 to 12 September 2021|
|Which category is this nomination for?||Best New Initiative or Event 2021|
|Name of event or initiative:||Herenga Muka | Creating Connection|
|Brief overview of the event or initiative:|
Herenga Muka | Creating Connections is a student volunteer-run initiative for Criminal Justice students founded by CRIMSOC and Ara Poutama Aotearoa (Department of Corrections). This project allows students to participate in creative activities with men in the care of Christchurch Men’s Prison, in order to give back to the community.
|What were the aims of the event or initiative?|
CRIMSOC identified a gap in offerings at the university for criminal justice students to volunteer in the community and gain work experience. The aims of the project are to enhance mana, give students work experience, promote kind and compassionate connections and ultimately reduce recidivism by stimulating contact between members of the public, and individuals in the care of Christchurch Men's Prison. The programme also seeks to provide a fun and unique experience for both the men in the care of the prison and students, with the opportunity to learn new skills and grow as individuals.
|How did you make it happen?|
Herenga Muka was successfully established due to CRIMSOC's ability to work with field experts. The programme was first discussed with Dr Jarrod Gilbert who put us in touch with a key figure at the prison. We established a close professional relationship with this prison professional, met with them several times and exchanged numerous emails to establish the initiative. We also worked closely with Professor Robin Palmer and utilised his expertise and willingness to help to ensure this programme ran safely. We gained approval of the Law School and UCSA and asked for help to ensure we mitigated any legal implications.
|How did you make it better?|
CRIMSOC worked closely with the Department of Corrections to ensure we knew exactly how our students could help. We identified the skills that would be useful at the prison before opening applications, held comprehensive interviews and chose the best volunteers for the job. All communications were conducted in a highly professional manner. Although this is a student run initiative, CRIMSOC have endeavoured to create a long lasting project by setting up strong foundations for this to be an annual programme. This included amending our constitution and incorporating the management of the project into the ‘Volunteer Liaisons Officer’s’ role.
|How did you show your commitment to sustainability?|
CRIMSOC wanted to ensure that this initiative would be available for criminal justice students to volunteer through for years to come. Therefore, it was important to us that the programme was established with adequate checks and balances. CRIMSOC worked closely with a variety of individuals within the university and the UCSA, to ensure that adequate approval was gained for this programme to go ahead and also that there would be no legal repercussions for the university, the volunteers, CRIMSOC, or their members. In addition, students were encouraged to carpool together to and from Christchurch Men’s Prison.
|Please upload any supporting evidence:|