Media Release: PARS are positively transforming the lives of deportees
Back in October, Minister Judith Collins called for a Memorandum of Understanding between New Zealand and Australia to improve the process of Kiwis who have committed a crime across the ditch and then been deported back to New Zealand.
"In light of the 'Bayliss' case I asked my officials for advice
around improving the management of New Zealanders who are charged
and convicted in Australia and deported back to New Zealand," Ms
Answering this call, at least in some senses, is PARS Inc.
(formerly known as Prisoner Aid and Rehabilitation Society of
Auckland District Inc.), who are positively influencing the lives
of convicted deportees from Australia (and other parts of the
world) and ensuring their positive reintegration into New Zealand
The case of Auckland resident, Mark, is an example of one of
PARS' success stories… Born in New Zealand, Mark moved to Australia
as an infant, living 46 of his 47 years there. Growing up as an
Aussie, for all intents and purposes, Mark never imagined that he
would one day be back in his country of birth, and not by his
choosing. However, once here, PARS helped Mark with a second chance
Mark has had a difficult adult life, struggling with mental
illness, including ADHD and OCD. Because of these difficulties, he
fell into a dangerous lifestyle, spending a total of 12 years out
of the last 24 behind bars. When his last sentence was up, the
courts ruled that he should be deported - back to his "homeland",
After saying goodbye to her husband, unsure of when she would
see him again, Mark's wife contacted PARS, hoping that they could
help him to settle in. PARS was on the case, helping Mark to deal
with WINZ initially, and get set up in his own place, feeling
secure and stable. From a community point of view, the input of
experienced case workers from PARS means that risks of reoffending
are mitigated and there is support for deportees who have been
convicted in other jurisdictions.
"It's a win-win," says Tui Ah Loo, Executive Director at PARS.
"We're the line thrown to deportees and ex prisoners on day one.
Our staff are passionate and believe in the cause they are working
for. They command respect and our clients repay that by turning
their lives around. They are grateful and realise they are lucky to
have had the support they get from us."
Since PARS became involved in Mark's life, he's begun a positive
journey towards responsibility and happiness, even taking on a new
job concreting in Orewa, which is helping to fill his time and earn
him some money. He is determined to get back on his feet and make
some money to help out his family.
Without PARS, Mark says: "I would probably be back in prison, as
it would have been easier than trying to create a whole new life
here in New Zealand without any support." He says that he was
encouraged by PARS to "keep battling", firm in the belief that
things would fall into place.
"The work we do is vital for the community," says Tui. "Without
the support of PARS, ex-prisoners are left to navigate the added
difficulties of a post-prison life alone, particularly ones that
have their lives uprooted to move back to New Zealand. PARS are
vital to breaking the cycle and helping clients to reintegrate
positively back into society."
After being without his family since he moved back, Mark is
desperate to bring them out to New Zealand. Despite his setback,
Mark remains positive about staying out of prison and supporting
his family. And now, with the help he needs, the future is looking
bright for Mark. With his positive attitude, hard work and the help
of PARS, Mark has managed to turn his life around.
Christina Wedgwood, Intelligent Ink
09 629 4213 or 027 631 1071