May 31, 2024
August 2023
Navigate Initiative

Navigate Initiative passes five years!

An incredible achievement, and we're definitely celebrating!

Murray Kennedy and Anaru Baynes with Corrections Minister, Hon. Kelvin Davis who visited the Navigate Initiative Unit at Christchurch Men's Prison in 2022.

Murray Kennedy and Anaru Baynes with Corrections Minister, Hon. Kelvin Davis who visited the Navigate Initiative Unit at Christchurch Men's Prison in 2022.

This anniversary has crept up on us! We're definitely celebrating! But we're also looking back on the years of hard work and learnings that went into the formation of this unique partnership with Ara Poutama (The Department of Corrections) that is the Navigate Initiative.

It's been more than 20 years in the making and that's because the NI is literally the culmination of our work in the reintegration field since small beginnings in 1998.

Carey Ewing joined Pathway in 2005, volunteering his time for the first year to convince us we should give him a job – it worked. He began working with ex-inmates as they left prison (we didn't call them Tū Ora then), and devised a number of 'supports' they needed to better navigate life outside the wire.

Years before that though, Mike Goatley had been employing ex-inmates and gang members in a factory in Dunedin where he was teaching them how to make a strange device called an Alloyfold chair, while helping them go straight. That was the embryonic idea that would one day become Pathway.

By 2008 Carey had formulated what we called TRS, or Total Reintegration Strategy. It involved wrap-around services for men coming out of prison – social work support, accommodation, employment, mentoring, drug & alcohol support, all delivered by Pathway and its supporters. We worked with hundreds of men in this way.

In 2012 Dr Jarrod Gilbert released a groundbreaking research paper called "Evaluating the Pathway" in which he studied the effectiveness of TRS after its five years of data. He found that inmates who had completed the TRS programme were 43% less likely to reoffend than those who had not. This was a staggering number.

By 2015 we were asking what could be possible if we began our work "behind the wire" in a meaningful way. Key people within Corrections joined the conversation and papers were written that began to define what the yet unnamed Navigate Initiative might look like:

  • It would be a JV partnership between Pathway and Corrections, not a contract
  • Corrections would create a space within Christchurch Men's Prison (a 20 bed unit)
  • Tū Ora is how we would refer to the men – "To stand in a place of wellness".
  • Pathway would support the Tū Ora both inside the wire and then in the community
  • Pathway and supporters would fund the $500Kpa cost through "supporter shares"
It wasn't easy to get everyone to agree, but in 2018 an MOU with Ara Poutama was signed and the Navigate Initiative was finally launched. It started quietly, without a lot of fanfare, and we all got on with the job.

More recently, Anaru and his team have built on the work that Carey and others started, and the staff at Christchurch Men's Prison have admirably accepted the challenge of working in partnership with an NGO that, let's be honest, sometimes takes an unconventional approach! It's been a very successful partnership so far.

At the five year mark, as I write, the NI programme has made a meaningful impact in the lives of almost 100 Tū Ora, and counting, and we continue to support their growing number in the community.

Ara Poutama continues to be a great partner and we are grateful to them and all of our supporters and volunteers for the fantastic help we receive.

While the five-year milestone is a huge achievement, there is much still to be done and in many ways we feel we're just getting started - Here's to the next 5 years!

Watch this space...

Names have been changed.

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