THEN: Kowhai park clean up in action, July 2015.After a clean up operation involving more than 3,000 hours work by offenders on community-based sentences, Kowhai Park in Whanganui has reopened.

The iconic playground had been off limits for children since flood waters left behind a thick layer of mud in June last year.

Corrections offered their services in the clean up effort, and two local work parties worked on cleaning up the park four days a week for six months.  

“It’s been really heavily labour-intensive,” said David Francis, Service Manager at Whanganui Community Corrections.  “A great deal of the mud had to be cleared away by hand and put into piles for the machinery to pick up.

NOW: Just like new - Kowhai park is open again and back in use.“To be fair it’s some of the hardest work that our offenders have undertaken, but it’s that real sense of giving back to the community.  In addition, offenders were also developing skills through the clean up work.”

With tonnes of silt removed and grassy areas replanted the main playground areas are now able to be enjoyed again.