Prison reform groups and prison supporters called it a protest. The authorities are more likely to call it a riot.
Either way, this week’s chaos is on Waikeria Prison is the longest-running and most destructive showdown in New Zealand prisons for decades.
The Waikeria disturbance dwarfed the 2013 Spring Hill riots, when inmates drunk on home-brew ran rampant and burned but controlled within nine hours.
Over generations, riots and protests broke out in New Zealand prisons for a variety of reasons.
Despite the widespread damage, the deadlock in Waikeria was resolved by negotiation.
In the past, prison rebellions were sometimes only suppressed by extreme violence.
FEATHERSTON POW CAMP, 1943
Over the years, confrontation and carnage in a camp near the quiet town of South Wairarapa is one of New Zealand’s darkest secrets.
After the Allied victory at Guadalcanal, Japanese prisoners of war (POW) were taken from the Solomon Islands to New Zealand.
That camping in Featherston held hundreds of prisoners of war.
In February 1943, several Japanese prisoners of war went on strike. The unruly inmates threw stones and then reportedly ran off the guards.
The guards opened fire, killing 31 prisoners in about 30 seconds. 17 other prisoners died later from their wounds, and one guard died.
According to NZ Geographic, many government agencies edited the first report, fearing Japanese retaliation against the Commonwealth POWs.
A military court of inquiry found that the shooting was unavoidable.
Some court details and many other official records were withheld under an embargo for 50 years.
MT EDEN, 1965
Mount Eden is a place where it doesn’t work an escape attempt in July 1965.
Daniel MacMillan and Godfrey Jonassen Sadaraka planned the vacation.
“Their plan was simple and involved a gun, locks and brute force,” the crime writer and sociologist Jarrod Gilbert wrote in the Herald.
“The two men freed the other inmates with improvised keys and iron bars.”
The central Auckland Prison, which was currently housing inmates serving sentences for violent crimes, burst into flames and chaos.
“Violent rioting” destroyed the interior but failed to permanently close the prison, wrote author Mark Derby Rock College: The unofficial history of the Mount Eden Prison.
The rioting continued for 33 hours, causing severe damage.
“Lines of armed police, guards and troops stand guard around the prison in hastily mounted spotlights,” explained the 1966 Encyclopedia of New Zealand.
After the police and prison authorities took control, some of the disorderly inmates were transferred to Christchurch.
It proved to be far from ideal for a South Island city.
Within a week, new arrivals were driven from Mount Eden sparking riots in Paparua in Christchurch.
Chaos broke out during chapel service and six guards were injured.
Immediately after, flames lit up on the east wing of the prison.
“Firefighters trying to control the blaze were confronted with a barrage of cutlery, bottles, bricks and furniture,” said a British journalist at Movietone-AP at the time.
Tear gas was used to suppress riots.
By the time the rioting was stopped, more than 40 wardens and police were lightly injured, said Encyclopedia New Zealand.
North Wellington, Rimutaka Prison staggered from scandal to scandal in 2007.
The Herald describes the catastrophic cascade of the time. In March of that year, 11 staff were withdrawn pending a corruption and smuggling investigation.
That same month, a senior manager was given special leave due to a claim of mismanagement.
Convicted rapist Peter Mana McNamara somehow managed to father a son while serving seven years in prison.
In April, young men affiliated with rival gangs Black Power and Mongrel Mob rioted, reportedly causing thousands of dollars worth of damage.
The following month, inmates took over part of the juvenile offender unit, leaving the entire prison locked up.
The NZPA reports that about 15 inmates climbed onto the roof and stayed there for more than five hours before being coaxed down.
The riot damage cost $ 410,000, according to the NZPA report.
A parole board source on Sunday said Rimutaka had carried out reforms and was now considered one of the country’s best prisons and most effective in rehabilitation.
At Northland Regional Prison near Kaikohe, riot squads were deployed after inmates damaged cells and started a fire.
The entire prison, known as Ngawha, was locked.
The riots erupted a month after a confrontation between guards and inmates that left an officer hospitalized with minor injuries after being hit to the head.
However, the disturbance only lasted about an hour.
The Herald at the time reported Correction staff from Auckland being sent to the prison, including highly trained members of the control and restraint unit.
Mac Anania’s parents later told RNZ that prisoners were responsible for the riot.
He said prison prisoners were often restless because they were smokers who suddenly found themselves in prison turning cold turkeys.
SPRING HILL, 2013:
In the winter of 2013, several inmates got drunk on homebrew and lit a fire at the Spring Hill prison near Hampton Downs, between Hamilton and Auckland.
As news of the fiery rebellion spread to other prisons, inmates with maximum security Paremoremo jammed the gates and tried to start a fire.
But serious disruption only occurs in Spring Hill.
And unlike this week’s Waikeria chaos, the disruption on Spring Hill was brought under control in less than half a day.
In a post-riot review, Correction said the Spring Hill disturbance was the biggest and most damaging case of “mutual indiscipline” in any prison in the 21st century.
And an investigation finds parts of the prison management team are divided and malfunctioning.
The Spring Hill Riot caused $ 10 million in damage.