Kia ora!

We would love you to connect with our Pillars community and learn more about the impact we are making. Together with our partners and volunteers we are supporting children of prisoners and their family/whanau to achieve generational change. You can hear their stories through our news channels.

Newsletters - subscribe here. Read our latest newsletter:PILLARS NEWS DEC 2017

Online - each week we post our news stories on social media.  Join our fans on Facebook.

Networking - join our network, follow our page on Linked In.

Join the effort - check out our latest challenge on Givealittle.

Pillars Helpline – 0508 PILLARS

When someone you care about is sent to prison you may feel alone and confused and would like someone to talk to.  You might need support about the situation you now find yourself in or about the prison system,  visiting and keeping in touch.  For more information about the free, confidential and non judgmental Pillars Helpline and how we can help click here.




0508 745527

Opening hours

The helpline hours are 9.30 am - 5.00 pm Monday to Friday

Please note - we are not open on Saturdays, Sundays or statutory holidays.

The helpline is available to all callers in New Zealand.


Contact Us

Opening hours

Our office hours in both Christchurch and South Auckland are 9.00 am - 5.00 pm Monday to Friday.

Please note we are not open on Saturdays, Sundays or statutory holidays.

Our team are community-based and provide in-home support, if we are out of the office or meeting with a client or volunteer you can leave a message and we will get back to you.

General enquiries

For all enquiries please email -


Christchurch (Head Office)

PO Box 7631
Sydenham 8240
Phone: 0508 PILLARS (0508 745527)

50 Durham Street South
Christchurch 8023



South Auckland

PO Box 97212
Manukau 2241
Phone: 0508 PILLARS (0508 745527)
Fax: +64 9 262 2432
6A Jack Conway Avenue (upstairs)

Resources & Links

For hard copies of any of our reports or to request supplies of resources Pillars provides for families and prisons/justice hubs please contact us.


Recent research and evaluation reports

  1. Invisible Children - A Study of Children of Prisoners in Aotearoa/New Zealand - Year 1 report, 2009
    A study of the children of prisoners, year 1 report, 2009
  2. A Study of the Children of Prisoners - Summary report, 2010
    Summary report, 2010
  3. Causes of and solutions to inter-generational crime - The final report of the study of the children of prisoners, 2011
    Year 2 report, 2011
  4. A study of the children of prisoners - Findings from Māori data, 2011
    A study of the children of prisoners, findings from Maori data
  5. Formative evaluation of Close to Home - a family reintegration pilot programme at Christchurch Men's Prison, 2012
    Formative Evaluation Close to Home Programme
  6. Formative evaluation of the Activities Centre at Christchurch Men's Prison, 2012
    Formative evaluation Family Activities Centre CMP
  7. Outcomes evaluation of the Activities Centres at Christchurch Men’s and Invercargill Prison, 2016
    Outcomes Evalulation Family Activity Centres in prisons

A full list of Pillars published research and evaluation documents is available here, for a copy of any of these reports please contact us.

Pillars published research and evaluation documents

Superu (formerly the Families Commission) produced a report that references the Pillars research:
Improving outcomes for children with a parent in prison - June, 2015 - read the press release here.

What Works Children of Prisoners Superu June 2015

Family resources

The following leaflets are available at Pillars, prison visiting centres and justice hubs. They provide practical information for people supporting a family member and caring for children wo have a parent in prison.

Arrest - what to expect

Attending court

Preparing for prison

Visiting Prison

What to tell children

Caring for children

When a partner goes to prison

Living with separation

Managing money

Caring for grandchildren part 1

Caring for grandchildren part 2


Preparing for release

Life after prison


Best practice guides

The Pillars Best Practice Manual is intended for use by individuals and agencies who work with families and whanau of prisoners. This includes the family/whanau workers, counsellors, community support workers, school teachers and guidance counsellors.  This is especially valuable for those working with children of prisoners and their parent/caregiver who is making decisions about their care.

The report is organised in a way that follows the family and whanau through the steps of the justice system, and then details the continued support for the family and whanau in the community when the parent is imprisoned.  Each step of the process begins with a short statement based on the research, which is followed by key bullet points, and short stories by family and whanau members.  We then detail the good practice strategies.

Pillars Practice Guide 2017



For health professionals - Health Tookit

For legal professionals -   Law Toolkit

For education professionals - Teachers Toolkit


Pillars brochures and reports

Supporting children of prisoners - sponsoring a mentor match
Sponsorship of Pillars Children's Mentoring Programme brochure

Mentoring sponsorship sign up form

Pillars Annual Report to 30 June, 2017
Annual Report 2017

Statement of Accounts to 30 June, 2017
Audit Report 2017


Conferences & Events

Pillars regularly hosts and partners with community and business events to raise awareness and funds. We regularly appear at forums hosted by Justspeak who help bring a voice about the need for and the deeper impact of the work we do.

Each year in September, Pillars hosts the annual Children of Prisoner’s Week campaign with a schedule of events and media.  This is to raise awareness of the needs of children of prisoners in our community and what will happen if we don’t act to break the cycle of disadvantage and make lasting and transformational change.

Here are some of our recent events.  If you are hosting an event you would like Pillars to speak at or to benefit the children we support please do contact us.

Children of Prisoner’s Week 2016 - #notourfutureprisoners


Miriama Kamo opens My Journey at Canterbury Museum
Miriama Kamo opens "My Journey" at Canterbury Museum

Pillars hosted the art exhibition “My Journey", a collection of art created by our children with support from their mentors.  In their art we hear their voice of hope, dreams, fears, and what is important to these children. We see they are not our future prisoners but children of great promise.


"My Journey" at Spark HQ, Auckland
"My Journey" at Spark HQ, Auckland

In Auckland we hosted public exhibitions at Spark HQ in Auckland’s CBD and Te Puke Community Centre in Otara, South Auckland.  In Christchurch there was a month-long exhibition at the Canterbury Museum. Opening events provided the chance to engage with valued stakeholders of Pillars and provide a platform for media engagement. The highlight was hearing the voice of 14 year old Darryn at “Breakfast Without Bars”, the launch event for Children of Prisoner’s Week in Auckland.


International conferences

International Coalition for Children of Incarcerated Parents
INCCIP representatives, Dallas, Texas

In May, 2015 and 2016 Pillars attended a prisoner's families conference in Dallas,Texas.  A network was formed called the International Coalition for the Children of Incarcerated Parents formed by groups from around the world who came together to do research, advocate for good practice and provide models of service for the children of prisoners. More information is available on the INCCIP website.





Pillars hosted the inaugural international conference of INCCIP (the international coalition for children of incarcerated parents) in Rotorua, New Zealand, from 20th to 23rd March 2017. Delegates came from 15 countries and 5 continents. Our keynote speaker was a 12 year old girl who had written her own book, "Everyone Makes Mistakes" - living with my Daddy in Jail" which became a best seller on Amazon. Madison has gone on to win a number of awards in United States for her Ambassador Role.

News & Media

Mentee Darryn with Pillars founder and CE Verna McFelin, MNZM
Mentee Darryn with Pillars founder and CE Verna McFelin, MNZM

Pillars in the news

The theme of this year’s Children of Prisoner’s Week campaign was #notourfutureprisoners. Pillars aimed to show the wider public of New Zealand that the over 20,000 children of prisoners in New Zealand do not have to become our future prisoners. No child dreams of going to prison when they grow up. Children of prisoners want to be our future parents, community members, workforce and in the case of 14 year old Darryn - a professional rugby league player.

Darryn was the first ever youth to speak at a Pillars campaign event and in the media about the impact having a Pillars mentor made on his life.  Darryn’s whanau supported him to do this, in order to help others break the cycle but also to support the charity that helped Darryn when the road his Mum was on to help him was very tough.

Darryn’s Dad has been in and out of prison most of his life. His world was very hard for him to navigate because of the loss and trauma he experienced. He became isolated and was heading down the wrong path of gang membership and crime and had been excluded from school.  Find out about the transformational journey Darryn and his whanau have been on with the support of Pillars and Darryn's mentor Puneet. Thanks to Mediaworks/TV3’s Newshub programme for this Story.

"I didn’t have a male role model.  My Dad wasn’t there for me. It was different for me to
have somebody like this in my life.  Somebody to rely on.  It felt good going out doing
stuff.  Puneet was always on time and made me feel special.  I was going through
hard stuff.  But he was always there. He asked me what I like doing and I said ‘eating!’
he taught me to cook. He showed me something different.”


Recent media

Christchurch Mail, October, 2016
Christchurch Mail October 2016

TV3 Newshub/Story Programme, Darryn’s Story, September, 2016  - click here.

Radiolive, Duncan Garner interview with mentor Puneet, September, 2016 – click here.

Tui Motu Interislands Catholic Magazine, September, 2016
Catholic newspaper, September, 2016

The Press, Christchurch, September, 2016
The Press, September 2016

Otago Daily Times, June, 2016
ODT June 2016

Manukau Courier, May, 2016, online via
Manukau Courier May 2016

Central Leader, May, 2016, online via
Central Leader, May 2016

Christchurch Mail, March, 2016
Christchurch Mail March 2016