We can be a colourless and soulless mob, at times, clearly lacking an appreciation of poetry and good language.
Correction. Some of us on occasions don’t appreciate the application of poetic language in palpably inappropriate circumstances.
“Correction” (as it happens) is the operative word in this post.
Alf’s attention has been drawn to this Herald on Sunday report, which kicks off:
A decision to name New Zealand’s biggest new private prison a place to “move out of the mist” is being called “potty” by justice campaigners.
The subject of this report is the $300 million, 850-bed men’s facility at Wiri, South Auckland, which is due to open next May and be run by private prison managers, Serco.
Obviously to keep our indigenous citizens happy, the medium security prison will have two names.
Its formal title is Auckland South Correctional Facility.
But it will also be known locally as Kohuora, which apparently means “coming out of the mist into the new world of the living”.
The way Alf understands these things, the inmates are more likely to be coming into their handkerchiefs or tissues.
The name was not suggested by anyone, so far as Alf can see. Rather, it was “recommended” by Mana Whenua iwi, Te Akitai Waiohua.
“Our community partners considered this resonates well with our focus on helping to prepare prisoners to lead constructive lives post-release and to reduce reoffending,” a Serco spokeswoman said.
“As many locals already know, Kohuora is also the name of a volcanic crater close to the prison.”
Alf has a great deal of sympathy with the Sensible Sentencing Trust, which reckons the second name is “political correctness gone mad”.
“We would like inmates to be reminded they are serving their sentences in a prison, not some kind of spiritual retreat,” spokeswoman Ruth Money said.
Act’s deputy leader, Kenneth Wang, is described as a “law and order hardliner”.
Dunno why. He happens to express opinions much the same as Alf’s.
He is bang on in this case when he says the name for the new slammer in Wiri is “bizarre”.
“The authorities have already tried to reinvent prisons as ‘correctional facilities’ and now they are trying to give them another makeover. It is senseless.”
Another critic is Brian Brown, whose 24-year-old daughter, Natasha Hayden, was strangled by a double killer, Michael Curran, in 2005.
Brown was appalled to hear of the new names for the prison.
“So, when someone asks a criminal ‘where have you been bro?’ they can say “I have been spending a few months at Kohuora, bro,” which sounds a lot better than ‘I have been in prison the last few months, bro’. It is disgusting.”
Alf must say he is ashamed of the wishy-washy attitude of one of his colleagues, Anne Tolley. She happens to be our Minister of Corrections (a job which Alf should have been given).
And – unbelievable! – she is reported to have insisted the name is not important.
“Regardless of what it is called, I expect the new prison to be high-performing, secure and safe, and to provide excellent rehabilitation opportunities, so we can have fewer victims of crime.”
But if the name doesn’t matter, we might just as well call it the Wiri Academy of Sunshine, Joy and Enlightenment Where Everyone Becomes a Dux.
The bloody name does matter, of course (something Alf will be bringing up at our next caucus meeting).
If it must have a second name, then let’s make it meaningful.
His recommendation is Place Where Bad Buggers Will Never See the Sun for a Bloody Long Time.