Auckland Prison

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The high-security section of Auckland Prison.

Auckland Prison (original name Paremoremo Prison, colloquially Pare, pronounced "Par-re") is a prison facility consisting of medium security and maximum security compounds in Paremoremo, Auckland, New Zealand. The two compounds are separate but located close together in a rural area.

The prison contains New Zealand's only specialist maximum-security unit, housing some of the most severe criminals in the country. Its old names of 'Paremoremo' and 'Pare' are still well-known and used throughout New Zealand.



Auckland Prison has beds for 680 prisoners.[1] It includes the medium-security Auckland West division, built in 1981 to relieve crowding at other institutions, particularly at Mount Eden Prison; a minimum security work and pre-release unit called Te Mahinga; and a 60-bed special treatment unit for child sex offenders, called Te Piriti.

Within the maximum security prison, the section formerly called 'D Block' has a harsh reputation.[citation needed] Conditions in it are very restrictive, and there are around three prison officers per inmate of the block.[2]


Security was upgraded significantly in the 1990s and 2000s. David Connor, the prison chaplain, noted that when he moved to Paremoremo in 1984, a chain-link fence around the medium-security block was all that was required. In 2010, however, the maximum security part of the prison, East Division, is surrounded by a highly secure perimeter fence covered in razor wire. Razor wire is also laid between the unit and the fence. East Wing has only one point of entry which has a highly sensitive scanner that every person must pass through.

Anyone carrying items into East Division is required to bring them through in a clear plastic bag. Every person entering is also liable to be searched. East Division has a centralised CCTV system, with cameras monitored from the control room in the centre of the wing at all times. All cells are made of solid concrete and have bars on the windows. All exercise yards are enclosed. There is also a higher staff/prisoner ratio in east block than in other units.

West Division accommodates high-medium security prisoners. Like East Wing, it has only one point of entry and any person entering the unit is liable to be searched. There are also CCTV cameras monitored from the guardroom, and sensors between the fences of the West Division.

There is also one minimum security unit, one low-medium security unit and the Te Piriti unit, which houses low security prisoners. These units have a lower level of security as prisoners in these units are deemed to be a minimal risk to public safety.

In case of a serious incident, guards have few options but to call the police. Corrections officers have repeatedly warned that violent inmates are becoming more of a problem (in Paremoremo and the New Zealand corrections system in general).[2][3]

After a serious attack by inmates on a prison guard in July 2007, a member of the staff anonymously complained to The New Zealand Herald about security procedures being inadequate, and said the prison was more like a 'holiday camp' for prisoners - especially in the case of those considered especially dangerous, alleging that prison management gives in to most of their demands to keep the peace.[4]

Notable inmates[edit]

  • Brian Curtis was an inmate after being convicted of importing $1.5 million of LSD in 1991, until his escape in August 1993, and again after his recapture in 2001 until his release on parole in December 2007. Convicted murderer Michael Bullock escaped with Curtis[5] and was recaptured in 1999.
  • Dean Wickliffe has escaped from Auckland Prison twice.[6]
  • Triple murderer William Bell was being held in the maximum security Delta Block in 2007.[7]
  • George Charlie Baker, who killed a teenage boy in a prison van, is a prisoner.[8]
  • Convicted murderer Antonie Dixon was being held in the maximum security area, awaiting sentencing, when he died in February 2009.[9]
  • Bruce Howse, who killed his step-daughters, was held in the maximum security area before he was transferred to Whanganui Prison for beating up Joseph Thompson in May 2005.
  • Graeme Burton was found guilty in November 2009 of the attempted murder of Dwayne Marsh at Auckland Prison and was sentenced to the indefinite term of preventive detention.[10]
  • Jason Somerville, who was convicted of a double murder in Christchurch in 2009, was once a prisoner in the maximum security area.
  • Scott Watson, who was convicted of a double murder at Furneaux Lodge in the Marlborough Sounds on 1 January 1998, was once a prisoner in the maximum security area before he was transferred to Christchurch Men's Prison.
  • Convicted rapist and murderer Hayden Taylor was once a prisoner in the maximum security area before he was transferred to Rimutaka Prison.
  • Brenton Harrison Tarrant the Christchurch mosque shooter was held in isolation in the maximum security area[11][12]
  • Cop killer Daniel Luff was once a prisoner in the maximum security area[13][14]
  • Paul Wood, author, motivational speaker, life coach, and psychologist

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Auckland Prison's $300m new wing includes sensory garden, health centre". Stuff. 16 July 2018. Retrieved 1 September 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Over one hundred lawyers inside Paremoremo prison Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine" - Auckland District Law Society Newsletter, Issue No. 20, 2004
  3. ^ "Prison officers call for weapons after hostage drama at Paremoremo" - The New Zealand Herald, 9 November 2006
  4. ^ Cheng, Derek (1 August 2007). "Prison guard: Paremoremo like a 'holiday camp'". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
  5. ^ "Escaper wants to renew appeal". The New Zealand Herald. 9 February 2005.
  6. ^ Morton, Jamie (30 March 2012). "Recidivist criminal back in prison for making P". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 30 March 2012.
  7. ^ Koubaridis, Andrew (13 July 2009). "Killer admits stabbing at Paremoremo". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  8. ^ "Hostage taker among New Zealand's worst". The New Zealand Herald. 27 August 2009. Retrieved 16 December 2009.
  9. ^ "Corrections 'stuffed up', says Dixon's lawyer". The New Zealand Herald. 5 February 2009.
  10. ^ "Double killer Graeme Burton sentenced for attack". The New Zealand Herald. NZPA. 19 February 2010. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  11. ^ "Man accused of Christchurch mosque shootings pleads not guilty to 51 murder charges". Stuff. Retrieved 2020-03-26.
  12. ^ "Mental health tests for NZ attack suspect". BBC News. 4 April 2019. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  13. ^ Noted. "Paremoremo Prison: An inmate's view from the inside". Archived from the original on 21 January 2020. Retrieved 2020-03-26.
  14. ^ "Convicted cop killer Daniel Luff nominated for Voyager Media Award". Stuff. Retrieved 2020-03-26.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 36°45′29″S 174°38′41″E / 36.7580633°S 174.6448088°E / -36.7580633; 174.6448088