A partnership between Community Probation Services and Wainuiomata Marae is bringing benefits to both groups.
CPS Lower Hutt Service Manager Bierne Gully-Davies said in addition to having offenders on community work undertake work at the marae, the offenders were also learning marae protocol and knowledge of tikanga Maori.
“We have a number of offenders who do their community work at the marae every week doing tasks like helping in the kitchen, maintenance and cleaning.
“When it’s wet we have them doing cleaning and indoor maintenance, but on fine days they’re tidying up the grounds, they’re now building a greenhouse and have started to establish a garden.”
Bierne says that while at the marae the offenders learn protocol from kaumatua and kuia, who also teach the offenders about Maori culture.
“Working at Wainuiomata Marae means a lot to the offenders. The marae and the people who are based there have mana, and the offenders respect that and react really well to that.”
Linda Olsen from the Wainuiomata Marae says the work undertaken by the offenders has been really appreciated.
“We have them undertaking a lot of tasks that would take us a lot of time and effort to complete so that saves us time and money.
“We’ve been happy with the work and attitude of the offenders. It’s also been great helping some of them reconnect with Maori traditions and with their whakapapa.
“Several offenders have received a real lift by finding out more about their own culture. After completing his sentence, one offender is now visiting the marae regularly. He’s also bringing his own children with him so they can learn about protocol and tikanga.”
Bierne says the partnership with the Wainuiomata Marae is working so well they are looking at increasing the number of hours offenders work there and the scale of the work they do.
Annually, New Zealand communities benefits from over 3.7 million hours of labour supplied through Community Work sentences.
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