Faith-based prison

Man looking at cross

The 60-bed faith unit at Rimutaka Prison opened in 2003 and is a partnership between the Department of Corrections and Prison Fellowship New Zealand.

The unit provides an opportunity for inmates to explore the Christian faith, and to surround themselves with Christian support on release.


Three men sitting in prison yard

The interdenominational programme was developed with representatives of the mainstream Christian denominations and the spiritual transformation focuses on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Trained Christian mentors work on a one to-one basis with the prisoners eight months before they leave the prison, and for up to two years after they are released.

The mentors are supported by their church, which undertakes to provide the offender and their family with moral and spiritual support after release.

This approach empowers offenders and volunteers alike to take responsibility for restoring personal, family and community relationships.


Te Ara Pono (Prison Cursillo)

Te Ara Pono (TAP) is a specially-designed prison Cursillo, based around an intensive four-day in-prison course, which is itself based on the normal Cursillo Three Days programme.

Cursillistas with a calling to prison ministry run the course in the Faith Unit each November.

Two Cursillistas within the St Matthew’s 10 am congregation are involved with this initiative.

(Te Ara Pono means the Way of Faith)

Target Programme

Our Vestry is currently considering the Target Programme, which gives parishes the resources they need to accept, coach, encourage and hold accountable released prisoners and assist their families.  This is a big step for the parish and it will discussed in full during the Vestry Planning Day, on 16 October.

Parishioners can be involved directly by supporting and assisting released prisoners and their families, or indirectly by providing clothing, food and household items, and by supporting those who are directly involved with prayer.

Further reading

If you have any questions, or are interested in becoming involved, ask Vicar Steve Kimberley, who also has videos and other information.