Project Whā


Build a strong creative response to the challenges we and our whānau face in the justice system


Collaborate with practicing artists in chosen art forms



We are involved in ongoing creative opportunities and events, and are empowered to advocate for social change


Project Whā video

“Trust is the circle, trust is the ingredient of names in the boil up. To trust must be the ultimate reason, only then can it be a work. Together!”

Project Whā is the fourth of the Home Ground projects, and is the social action platform of Home Ground. 


In this project we build a strong advocacy and awareness campaign on the challenges women and whānau face in the justice system


We work in collaboration with artists through creative mediums and advocate that we listen to women who know what they need, when no one has listened before.

Project Whā video due for release late 2020


“Wow, all the hard mahi and more to come has been an achievement getting to this stage of Home Ground Poneke. Thanks to you and Anita guiding all us ladies through so much of the mahi projects have been awesome, especially inviting all the professionals in.


I am so proud to have met two amazing wāhine who have given me the opportunity and inspiration to continue the art I thought I gave up on, big aroha from me and all the ladies who attended Home Ground.”


Project Whā


Project Whā ran from May to September. As a collective, we created and curated content to showcase the work that has been achieved over the last year with Home Ground.

Our response to the COVID-19 crisis was to work across multiple platforms:

  • an online classroom

  • a community workshop space

  • Arohata Upper Prison

  • Arohata Tawa Prison.


We used everything from pen and paper sent to a PO Box, to multimedia digital work.


Fifteen women participated in the different workshops, and thirteen artists collaborated on the work.


The artistic aims of Project Whā needed to change to suit the alert levels, therefore we focused on the digital work as we knew we could do this collaboratively – from a safe distance!

Digital advocacy project

Our aim was to create four curated digital advocacy pieces based on the participants’ experience of the justice system and their reintegration back to the community.

Three of the films were created by women in the justice system in collaboration with artists, while the fourth was created by Transmit media to explain the kaupapa behind Home Ground.


These short films were created in response to the impact of incarceration and the justice system.

  • Tahi: Where we come from makes us who we are. Ko wai au? Who am I?

  • Rua: Inside out, and outside in.

  • Toru: He kākano: The magic seeds of the circle.


The big question was, ‘How do we want people to feel at the end of what we put out into the world?’


These were some of the answers:

  • “That we are strong, we have strength in this place.”

  • “Respect. Family/Whānau. (family through art)”
  • “For people to have a better understanding of who we are, what we do.”
  • “That we are heard”
  • “That we are listened to”
  • “That the creativity born of our lived experiences is recognised not only as showcases in courage and growth, but also as a wellspring to inform conversations for women, about women and with women; throughout the justice and corrections space.”


A number of artists collaborated on Project Whā's digital advocacy piece.


The Kitchen Table project

A series of installations and carved letters

The Kitchen Table Project is an ongoing experiment looking at what it means to have a kitchen table. This was explored through our digital media, but also in future exhibitions and workshops.

Since 2011, Kath Foster has worked on a series titled Reproportioned Tables. Each work in the series takes an old dining table and cut-and-pastes it to be half as wide and twice as long as it was to start with; the resulting objects are around three metres long. No part of the old table is wasted in this process: every scrap is used to determine the new table’s dimensions.


On Project Tahi we had no table. On Project Rua, we had tables inside the prison. In Toru, we had one of Kath’s tables installed in our space. We ate, talked, worked and shared around that table. It became an essential character within the Home Ground projects.


On Project Whā we planned to carve the table, but had become so attached to it we couldn’t make a mark. We had also been wrestling with how this relates to tikanga: if we carved the table it would make it tapu, meaning we couldn’t interact with it in the same way.


We filmed the table, making it a part of our digital advocacy series. In the future, we plan to work on and develop this concept for different projects.


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

or talk to your case manager or probation officer.