Local residents and visitors to Tauranga can now enjoy the newly restored walking tracks through the Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park, thanks to the hard work put in by offenders serving Community Work sentences.
Over the past two months up to fifty offenders have contributed more than 3800 hours of conservation work by maintaining and upgrading the walking tracks through the Kaimai Mamaku Forest.
Each day the offenders walked about ten kilometres completing a range of labour-intensive jobs such as lifting building materials, manually removing weeds, planting native trees and clearing hazardous debris off the walking tracks.
Department of Conservation Ranger Steve Tempero says the project has been a win-win situation for everyone involved.
“The offenders have done an excellent job helping us to renovate the walking tracks. It wasn’t an easy job, but they arrived each day with a great attitude and just got stuck into it.
“I’ve also been really blown away with the changes I’ve seen in these guys throughout the project. They became more and more motivated to learn and took pride in their work, knowing it would be enjoyed by everyone using the tracks this summer."
Community Probation and Psychological Services Waiariki Area Manager Pauline Moran says that more conservation work could be on the horizon due to the successful partnership between Corrections and the Department of Conservation.
“The Tauranga project has been such a great success for both the offenders and the community. We look forward to continuing our work with the Department of Conservation to provide meaningful work for offenders that benefit the community.”
Pauline says Community Work is a great way for offenders to make amends for their behaviour.
“Community Work is a community-based sentence which requires offenders to do unpaid work for non-profit organisations as reparation for their offending. It gives offenders an opportunity to take responsibility for their offending and learn new skills and work habits which could help them gain employment in the future.”
Each year, New Zealand communities benefit from almost three million hours of labour supplied through Community Work sentences.
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