Nga Tūmanakotanga

Turning the Tide on Prison Violence

Photo credit: NZ Herald/Amos Chapple
Photo credit: NZ Herald/Amos Chapple


Nga Tūmanakotanga (Turning the Tide on Prison Violence) is a 5 year project funded by the Ministry of Business Enterprise and Employment to develop new understandings of those factors that facilitate the commission of institutional violence and how it might best be prevented. It aims to develop current understandings of what constitutes prison violence and how this should be measured, and the associated costs and harms experienced by those who live and work in prisons.

Nga Tūmanakotanga is a Māori name that was gifted to the project. The name alludes to the gathering and application of knowledge as akin to natural tidal processes of time, movement, organisation, synthesis and change.

Outcomes / activities

  • Analysis of reported recorded violence in prisons across New Zealand and patterns that characterise when, where, and how it occurs as well as who is involved
  • Survey and focus groups with people in prison and those who work in prisons
  • Interviews with members of gangs both in prisons and in the community
  • The development and evaluation of prevention initiatives across 5 sites


Violent incidents have devastating impacts on those who live and work in institutions as well as families and friends. They are expensive in terms of the economic, social, and human costs that directly contribute to deficits in resources and manpower that have been identified as critical issues for prisons around the world since the early 1900s. This project will identify solutions to this problem.

More information

Visit the Nga Tūmanakotanga website

Project details


Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), Department of Corrections New Zealand

Research partners

University of Waikato, New Zealand
University of Cantebury, New Zealand
Swinburne University of Technology, Australia
University of Saskatchewan, Canada

Project team

Dr Armon Tamatea
Professor Andrew Day
Professor Devon Polaschek
Dr Lars Brabyn
Professor Michael Daffern
Professor Randolph Grace
Dr Robert Henry
Ms Renae Dixon (project manager)


Professor Andrew Day