Kiwi detainees locked down in Australian detention centre after riots

Detainees on Australia's Christmas Island are in lockdown following a riot this week. 

Kiwi men being held there are being delivered meals through a hole in a fence, as guards avoid the compound. 

Frustrated men have set parts of the remote detention centre on fire in a protest over poor living conditions. 

Sosefo Tu'uta Katoa, a Kiwi detainee says he's spent the hours since in full lockdown. 

"From yesterday to today, everyone's just locked down. No guards, no nothing. They only come and pass the food through the fence then they left."

He didn't take part in the riots, but agrees the conditions are inhumane

"Sometimes I say to myself I'd prefer to die than being in this place."

It's understood about 200 men are being held at this detention centre and about half are New Zealand citizens.

They're dubbed 501s, a group facing deportation because they've failed immigration's bad character test - section 501 of Australian law. 

Australia's Border Force says the men were sent to Christmas Island because they posed a risk to the Australian community. 

In a statement it says the detainees are unlawful migrants, with convictions for sexual, violent and drug-related offences. 

However, Sosefo says he has no criminal record, but was expelled because he was mates with bikies

"It's not fair you know, because they destroyed my life and even my family too."

Those who've agreed to be deported back to New Zealand are still waiting for a release date - but after the uproar, those dates are unlikely to come any time soon.