A 16-2 win for Huntly’s Taniwharau rugby league side over neighbouring Ngaruwahia has helped mark 20 years of cooperation between Corrections and rugby league in the area.
Taniwharau won their fourth consecutive final in the Waikato premier division at Davies Park, which had been expertly prepared for the big occasion by local community workers.
Community Probation and Psychological Services (CPPS) Probation Officer James Snowball has been working with the clubs and sports ground since the early 90s.
“The relationship started around 1990, but we’d been working with them informally for a few years before that, maybe 1986.”
He says initial work in the area involved slashing gorse and clearing rubbish from the surrounding area, then moved on to painting the lines for games and helping to sand and paint the grandstand.
Mr Snowball says many of the offenders he helps supervise come from the local area and have an interest in league, so they enjoy being able to contribute to the game in a community-minded way.
“After Saturday’s work party had finished, most of the guys were straight down to Davies Park to watch the game. It’s a good project for us to be involved with, because not only does it teach the guys solid work ethics and, in a lot of cases, new skills but they take a real pride in doing work that their friends and community are benefiting from.”
Annually, New Zealand communities benefit from almost 3 million hours of labour supplied through Community Work sentences.
Community work sentences require offenders to do unpaid work in the community for non-profit organisations as reparation for their offending.
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