May 31, 2024
September 2023
Tū Ora Story

Dylan’s story, five years on from the NI.

September 2023 marks the fifth anniversary of the Navigate Initiative. Dylan was among the earliest to graduate from the NI.

September 2023 marks the fifth anniversary of the Navigate Initiative, Pathway’s ground-breaking prisoner reintegration programme. Dylan was among the earliest to graduate from the NI when he was released in November 2020.

Now taking on an engineering apprenticeship at a Christchurch business where he has been employed since his release, Dylan also acts as a support pillar for other men who have completed the NI. While he's on the right track today, things could easily have been different, he says.

"I was in the Matapuna unit and a few of the boys had already headed to the Navigate Initiative. I heard there was a form you had to fill out to apply for it, so I just talked to my case manager, got the form, filled it out. I was quite hopeful, I thought it would be a good opportunity. I was hoping I would get in anyway.

I was actually excited and optimistic about being there. I thought it was a really good opportunity, just from hearing about it. It was a good opportunity to try and reintegrate myself back into the community. I'd just finished my time in the therapy unit and I had a new outlook on life I guess you'd call it. A new perspective. I guess the Navigate Initiative was a good opportunity to practice the new outlook I had on life.

It was a few years ago now. It was good, you can cook your own food so that was good to get a change of food and I had a good housemate. They were welcoming and everyone was welcoming. I was pretty excited to be there.

Just having people come in from the outside and being able to socialise with them was good. It's different. With people on the outside you can kind of talk to them about stuff that's happening out there and it's good to build those connections. With the workshops, I enjoyed the exercise one and the writing. There was a few other ones and we had some people come in for a touch rugby tournament which was quite fun.

It gave me hope that my life on the outside would be different because if I hadn't gone through the Navigate Initiative I probably wouldn't have the connections I have today that have been helpful since I got out. If I'm ever in need and not going too good, I've got people to call.

What you put in you get out. What you sow you reap. I guess if you give it a go, put the effort in, the results will show. I reflect on it daily; where I am now, where I could have been. I'm really grateful.

At the church I just show up there every week and if there's an opportunity to help others out I'll do what I can. I was once in that situation, getting out of prison. I know what it's like. It's nothing big normally, just a ride here and a ride there, or hang out with the other Tū Ora. That's been really helpful. I go there every week and it's a good opportunity to sit there and talk and vent and get support in the areas I need too.

I give them the same advice I try to give myself – to just get through today. Today's the only day we really have, so make sure you're doing stuff to better your future today. If life isn't going too well, it doesn't last long. It passes. I'm still a work in progress.

Probation have been helpful too. They're there to help so I use that if I need it too.

Anaru's the one at Pathway I've worked with closely. I knew him prior to the Navigate starting up. He was in the yard (at the prison) playing cards with the boys, which is a bit different and I thought that was quite cool. He's humble, he's there to help. The other staff have been great as well.

As for the future, honestly, I don't know. I'm hopeful. I'm optimistic about it. I know I'll be crime free and not hurting people so that's a win in my book.

Names have been changed.

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