Napier Prison is the oldest penal complex in New Zealand, having opened in 1862. The Prison finally closed its doors in 1993. However in 2002 it was bought by the Waaka family, restored to its present state and used as a backpackers. Currently Napier Prison is open to the public for both guided day and night tours as well as daily selfguided audio tours. The prison has had many former uses besides housing criminals, such as a psychiatric unit, a lighthouse, a meeting venue for Alcoholics Anonynous and a set for television series. Napier Prison housed such inmates as Te Koote, Terry Clark, John Yelash, Makoare Te Waata, Roland Edward, Haira Te Piri, all of which you can hear more about on any of the tours. Whilst taking a tour you can hear about the different buildings in the gounds of the prison, such as The Pound, originally housing unstable patients, can you guess the origins of its name? Learn why the toilets doors had to be shortened, about the graffiti and gang propoganda scrawled in the cells, the many uses for the Cages originally used for immigrants arriving at the port, why the prisoners in the Graveyard were buried in a strange position and how in the Hanging Yard the executioner was often also an inmate of the prison! You can even see the original path of the 1931 Hawkes Bay earthquake, and read all about it.
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