New Zealand prisoners learn to cook in a qualifications first

We had something like this when I was in jail, oh, 35 years ago in Canada, but I wasn’t into food then so I taught school.

Kindergarten-level reading to grade 12 physics. when the big dude said, I don’t wanna read today, we didn’t read.

Prisoners at Whanganui Prison in New Zealand have been given the opportunity to leave with a catering qualification.

A National Certificate in Marae Catering level two is being run in partnership with UCOL in Whanganui, with six prisoners recently graduating. 

The 14-week certificate was offered to the men to learn the cultural aspects of preparing food. 

Many of them had graduated from the prison Te Tirohanga programme, which is the national kaupapa Maori rehabilitation programme, operating in five prisons around the country.

Whanganui Prison assistant prison director Elizabeth Manchee said the skills gained from the course had many positives. 

“The men understand the importance of making better nutritional choices, can practise safe food handling and can demonstrate a basic knowledge of contamination hazards and control methods, all within a tikanga environment.

These former prisoners now know more about food safety than a lot of so-called chefs.

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About Douglas Powell

A former professor of food safety and the publisher of, Powell is passionate about food, has five daughters, and is an OK goaltender in pickup hockey. Download Doug’s CV here. Dr. Douglas Powell editor, retired professor, food safety 3/289 Annerley Rd Annerley, Queensland 4103 61478222221 I am based in Brisbane, Australia, 15 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time