From the Acting National Commissioner
As a member of the public, I didn’t realise just how many projects carried out in my local community were done by people on Community Work. Now, in my role as Acting National Commissioner, I’m able to see the full extent of the work undertaken by people sentenced to Community Work.
Each year, offenders provide four million hours of service to thousands of local projects ranging from helping to prepare the huge hangi for the Taumarunui Dinner (which features on the cover) to the regular upkeep of Shantytown just outside Greymouth.
In March I was in New Plymouth to mark the closure of New Plymouth Prison. While I was there I went along to meet the Community Work teams there who were setting up for WOMAD (the World of Music, Arts and Dance). Corrections has been helping out at WOMAD for the past nine years. We provide several crews for 10 days prior and two days following the festival. Jobs include putting up festival tents, setting up security fencing, painting signs and clearing paths. One of the best outcomes from WOMAD is that a number of the men and women on community work secure paid employment as a direct result of the work they do at the festival, and this year seven offenders from 2012 returned to paid positions.
Corrections’ relationship with this festival and other similar enterprises comes down to the great work done at a local level by our Community Work Supervisors and their teams. If you have a community project and think we may be able to help, please let us know. Contact your local Community Probation for more information. You will find them in the blue pages of your phone book, under C for Corrections or search for community probation in your area on whitepages.co.nz.
Acting National Commissioner
Special Thanks to Community Work Taumarunui
Corrections received acknowledgement from Heartland Services for contributing to the second Taumarunui Dinner @ the Domain, an annual feast put on for the community, by the community.
On Saturday 2 March community work teams helped cook a massive hangi consisting of about 550 meals. They were shared by most of the 1,500 to 2,000 diners. The celebrity cook this year was Pete Peeti from Maori Television’s ‘Kai Time on the Road’. He led a marae cook off and curry cook off event. But it didn’t stop there for the community work involvement. The teams were also involved in growing lots of the vegetables for the meal.
Taumarunui/Waimarino Service Manager Frank Mariu was pleased with the team’s efforts. “It is just such a great event that makes everyone feel part of the community. This was especially good for the community work teams as it gave them a sense of achievement, having played a major role in making the event successful.”
130 sleepers on the job
Having worked on the rail tracks 40 years ago, Community Work Supervisor Lance Te Patu jumped at the chance of supervising a project to replace 130 old sleepers around Aotea Lagoon in Porirua.
“It was great to be working on the tracks again and supporting offenders to learn some new skills as well do something for the community they live in,” says Lance who has worked as part of a ‘track gang’ in Aramoho to Whanganui. “A full-on job”, he says, “and an excellent activity for offenders to do some reparation.”
Sleepers in the 1km track had to be replaced, including one tunnel and two bridges. The track is the narrowest in the Southern hemisphere at its specified gauge.
“It took us about two months to get the work done”, says Lance. “The offenders dug the ballast (gravel) and pulled out the old sleeper, often it just crumbled like weetbix. We put the new sleeper in and realigned the track, spade packed rail joins after lifting to the required height, laid and spread ballast evenly through the track.”
Passers by often praised the work we were doing as the train is quite popular and people were keen to see it up and running. We completed the project on 25 January. The train was roaring to go and after a professional company has done some bridge maintenance it will hopefully soon start its Sunday rides again in a much smoother style thanks to Corrections!
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Community Works is published quarterly by the Department of Corrections.
Contact details for Community Probation Services can be found here or by looking under C for Corrections in the Government listings of the Telecom White Pages.