Project Rua


Co-create a performance that tells our own story, in our own way


Use a strengths-based approach to identify creative strengths, hurdles and strategies



We have self-belief, understand the value in our lived experience, and are motivated to work towards a peer-mentoring support network


Project Rua video

Inside out, and outside in

This short film was inspired by the original writing of women in Arohata Prison on Project Rua, and a different version was performed at the Arohata Christmas concert in 2019.

For women living in the prison, this was a chance to talk about how incarceration has affected them.


The poems are about first coming to jail, the loss women go through in prison, love lost and found, the conversations you have with yourself, and finally “finding myself”. There are so many transitions in this world.

Participant looking at artists.jpg

“The things that Project Rua did well was helping each of us understand our inner feelings and bringing out the artists in us all”


Project Rua


Project Rua 2019 was delivered in Arohata Upper Prison as a three-week intensive creative experience, followed by workshops in December 2019 and January 2020.


Nine women got the opportunity to work with 11 artists, learn about their own  life story through creativity, develop their artistic strengths, work on positive wellbeing and create a performance for the Arohata Christmas concert.


Project Rua used a strengths-based approach to the visual arts, creative writing, photography, performing arts and music to:

  • encourage women to develop arts-based strategies for resilience

  • provide creative opportunities for women to learn through co-creation and self-direction

  • create a women-centred approach to the current issues women face while incarcerated, advocating for themselves

  • strengthen connections to other providers currently working in the prisons and probation services

  • honour the wisdom of lived experience of incarceration  by understanding the creative value of their life story

  • co-create a performance piece for the annual Christmas concert that amplified the voices of the women inside prison.

All proceeds from the concert, performed over two nights for about 600 audience members, went to the Zonta Club of Mana and Women’s Refuge.


“I 4got how much dancing actually means to me”

“the experience has opened up new opportunities for myself to get me into creative writing, poetry etc...”


“Best thing about Project Rua? There is good real people left in the world”


“Thank you to all the artists that have helped the girls and myself bring out the inner artist within us. Ngā mihi”


“As the queen I am I would like to thank all the artists for helping me express my true life and powerful story. He tino purotu o mahi e ngā wa katoa.”


For more information, email homeground.poneke@gmail.com 

or talk to your case manager or probation officer.