145-Year Anniversary of PARS


n the 1st July 2022 we mark the 145th Anniversary of the founding of the Patients’ and Prisoners’ Aid Society (PPAS).

In the first year of its existence, the Society helped 140 people – 88 from hospital, 44 from prison and 8 from the asylum – with such necessities as rail or boat fares, clothing and sums of money ranging from 1c to £1.

The PPAS continuously worked to alleviate the plight of patients and prisoners through two World Wars, a Great Depression, an influenza pandemic - all the while weathering economic and political turmoil as Aotearoa New Zealand forged a national identity. Under the leadership of Tom Trotter, the 1990’s saw the formation of PARS(Otago) and PACT in response to increasing complexities in the social services sector.

Today, PARS(Otago) continue to support offenders and their whanau, working with men and women in prison and those living in their own homes or in supported accommodation facilities, to encourage and support them to find employment, address addiction and mental health issues, undertake training and mend relationships damaged by their offending. PARS also helps Kiwis deported from Australia to start a new life in their country of birth.

To list the names of all those who have contributed to this work would be impossible. PARS(Otago) operate in a vastly different world than the one in which it was founded, but human need remains unchanged. A 145-year history of continuous caring for those on the margins bears testimony to the people of this remarkable organisation.

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