'Wonderful initiative' sees prisoners build toilet blocks for iwi moving home

Families in the Far North living without running water now have a communal ablution block to use thanks to the inmates of Ngawha Prison.

Struggling families in the far north have been provided toilet and washing facilities thanks to the inmates of Ngawha Prison. Source: 1 NEWS

Minister of Maori Development Te Ururoa Flavell was at the blessing of the blocks, which will go to three families.

He said it was "a wonderful initiative" which will "allow some prisoners to pick up skills" as well as benefiting local families.

"There's a definite desire on the part of many iwi Maori to go back to their home base ... back to the kainga that their grandparents lived on ... but of course it sometimes comes with no facilities," Mr Flavell said.

"The government is attempting to find some assistance to allow them to do that.

"The infrastructural base is going to take some time to get there but at least they have some comfortable-enough services to be able to look after their children and their families."

The facilities include a toilet, shower, sink and space for a washing machine.