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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

Home Ground Prison Project 2023

2023 is the year of short sweet projects, so we can all adjust to our new reality of Covid recovery.

Home Ground will be delivering programmes in Arohata Women's Prison and Christchurch Women's Prison. 

Our Home Ground workbooks are available at both prison sites – if you know a creative Queen that could do with some inspiration on the inside, tell them to get in touch at:

Home Ground

PO Box 14132


Wellington 6241

Project Rua 2022

Project Rua 2022

Read about the ups and downs of this year's project!

Joy jerm mandala.heic

Photo from K in Ōtautahi: Flowers with joy germ finger puppet.

Project Rua 2021 workshop.jpeg

“Since the concert, the vibe in the wings has changed. It was humanising for all the women. It included them in the process.”
- Project Rua 2021 Participant

Project Rua 2021 Video

Project Rua 2021 Video

Actions Speak Louder than Words

Actions Speak Louder than Words is a collaboration between artists and women, inside and outside of Arohata Women's Prison, during their time on Home Ground's Project Rua 2021.


During Project Rua we used a strengths-based approach and creative arts practice (visual arts, creative writing, photography, performing arts and music) to create a performance for the 2021 Arohata Matariki Concert. 


This video showcases a music piece from the larger live 12 minute performance, "A Woman's Own".


Thank you to Creative New Zealand for funding our core projects.

Project Rua 2021 on stage Arohata prison.jpeg

“You came in as people and spoke to us as people. It’s a simple thing but its not cos it never happens”
- Project Rua 2021 Participant

Project Rua 2021

Project Rua was delivered in Arohata Prison over 8 weeks in June and July 2021. The series of workshops provided access to a varied range of arts experiences and creative resources. 


Participants created two devised performances, using multimedia art forms with a focus on performing arts.


The first performance featured four women, dance, original music composition, poetry and choreography for approx 60 audience members. The audience was made up of staff, supporters and other women inside Arohata. 


The second performance “A Woman’s Own” was performed over the two nights of the public Matariki Concert to more than 500 people. Ticket sales went to supporting Women’s Refuge, and the Zonta Mana fund for Women in Arohata Prison. 


Part of each Home Ground project is making the beautiful content women create inside prison, visible on the outside. It's important that friends and whānau are able to share in the creative process and feel proud of what their mothers, sisters, aunties and partners achieve.


We are excited to share the collection of poetry taken from the script that was performed during our Matariki Concert. 


Download the booklet here.

Colored Theatre Lights

“This project has helped my mental health immensely!” 
- Project Rua 2021 Participant

“[Home Ground] has brought back our humanity” 
- Project Rua 2021 Participant

Project Rua 2020 Video

Project Rua 2020 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.

Red Chairs

“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 2020 Participant

About Project Rua

Project Rua 2020


Project Rua 2020 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.


2020 Participant responses: 

“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, talk to your case manager or probation officer, or fill in our online expression of interest form

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