Providing essentials to people in prison
Ngā Mihi is a New Zealand first – an online store that offers pre-approved essentials for people in our prisons. And it's great for whānau, Corrections staff and suppliers.
A humane start to the journey of healing and reconnection
During their time in prison, Ngā Mihi founders Saia Maka and Livi Taufao found that receiving essential items could be challenging and stressful. Some prisoners reported waiting up to six months to receive basic items like socks or underwear.
After reflecting on their own experience and taking part in a Creative HQ workshop, Saia and Livi came up with an idea to streamline the process of getting goods to prisoners – reducing the time frame from six months to two weeks.
With a process idea in hand, the founders participated in Datacomp 2022, a 48-hour hackathon to refine and accelerate concepts. Ngā Mihi won first prize and received Datacom's support to design and develop the end-to-end experience for families and prisoners.
Now, Ngā Mihi helps preserve the dignity and mana of people in prison and makes life easier for everyone else involved.
The Ngā Mihi Essentials Store enables whānau to purchase pre-approved essentials and have them delivered to people in prison hassle-free and ASAP. Ngā Mihi Care Packages ensure everyone has pre-approved basics when they begin their prison sentence.
Thank you to our supporters:
Creative HQ's GovTech accelerator programme
Thank you to our partners:
Department of Corrections
The Warehouse Group
Ernst & Young
and more to come
Lived experience, backed by design and technical expertise
Saia Maka and Livi Taufao
Zoe Matthews, Valeria Osorio
Maria Perriton, Kafo Tila, Natnael Gibremichael and Jacob Gallagher
Born in Brisbane, Australia and raised in Otara, South Auckland, Livi considers himself a Samoan Kiwi. He is the eldest of six siblings and works hard to support his family. He made some regrettable decisions, which led to him spending three years of his life in prison. Since then, he's been able to turn his life around by becoming a Take2 graduate, Dev Academy graduate, Spark NZ employee, and co-founder of Ngā Mihi.
Co-Founder & Director
Saia is a co-founder of Ngā Mihi and a software development Intern at RUSH Digital, specialising in front-end mobile development. Before his conviction in 2019, Saia worked as an apprentice carpenter on some of New Zealand's biggest construction projects. During his time in prison, he chose to turn his life around. Ngā Mihi is a milestone in his ongoing journey to build a better future for his young family.
How it works
Ngā Mihi’s Essentials Store lets people in prison access and request a range of pre-approved essential items. Orders are reviewed and approved by Corrections, after which a unique link is sent to whānau to complete the purchase. Whānau receives regular updates to let them know when items have shipped and when the person in prison receives them.
How it helps
The Essentials Store speeds up the time it takes people in prison to receive essential items. It also helps to preserve their mana by ensuring they don’t have to wait too long for the basics and avoiding items being disallowed.
The order process provides relief for:
Whānau - who know they’re supporting their loved ones with the essentials they need
Corrections staff - who can focus more on rehabilitating the people in their care.
People in prison order from the Essentials Store.
Approval is quick and easy because all items comply with Corrections regulations and restrictions.
Whānau receive a unique link that allows them to pay for the essential items within 28 days.
Whānau receive regular updates on progress once the items have been despatched and received by the person in prison.
We also arrange Care Packages – these help to make sure that everyone has pre-approved basics when they begin their prison sentence.
“I feel for my partner who’s always driving around to get stuff, this will save so much time.”