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Aug 07, 2017

College students and inmates launch BRUTHAS

YES team BRUTHASis made of St John's Students and Inmates


A group of young inmates and students from Catholic secondary school St John's College in Hastings have formed a company called BRUTHAS as part of the Young Enterprise Scheme.

For the last six months, the students have made regular visits to the Tirohanga Unit inside the Hawke's Bay Regional Prison meeting with their business partners, inmates aged between 17-19 years.

"In the beginning, they were so nervous as were their parents and that's understandable. I think now they're so comfortable, they're greeting each other, they hongi each other. I think it's fantastic," says Paul Melloy principal of St John's College.

Together they've designed a product they've called "Just Boards" a rimu platter that interlocks together, symbolising a waka.

"At first, it was kind of silly at first thought but then, once we got into it, we saw that it's quite a good as most other people wouldn't think of it and it's gotten us pretty far," says St John's student Rhyva Van Onselen.

The business venture is the first of its kind and has given a new perspective to the young inmates on what their future could look like when they leave prison.

"I want to be a young entrepreneur. I'll probably be the first one from my whānau so yeah that's my ultimate goal," says one of the inmates we are unable to name, but is part of BRUTHAS.

They were one of 50 teams from Hawke's Bay that entered the Young Enterprise Scheme designed to allow students to create real businesses and sell products to market.

Any profits made from the BRUTHAS product "Just Boards" will either be donated to charity, a community project or another joint project between the school and prison.


Click here to watch the interview