Date: 30 October 2012
A further 1200 native shrubs have been planted along the Lookout Track on the Tongariro River in Turangi, and weeds controlled in a collaborative effort between the Department of Conservation and the Department of Corrections.
This work continues the restoration of native vegetation after the pine trees were felled in February 2011 to remove the hazard of falling mature trees to people and infrastructure.
A working party of seven prisoners from Tongariro/Rangipo Prison undertook the physically challenging task over several weeks. As well as planting the native shrubs the workers pulled out any pine tree seedlings and cut all the weeds at their roots. Department of Conservation project supervisor Peter Mark said, “The team are hard workers and their labour was an asset to plant on this difficult terrain. Their help freed Department of Conservation staff to deliver further biodiversity work”. Due to this successful trial the Department of Conservation are going to write up a programme for future work for Tongariro/Rangipo Prison.
Tongariro/Rangipo Prison Manager, Dennis Goodin said prisoners benefit from being involved in such work as they learn new skills, attitudes and positive habits. It also increases their ability to gain employment once released. “Giving prisoners training opportunities is part of our plan to reduce re-offending by 25 percent by the year 2017. Research shows that prisoners who find sustainable employment on release are less likely to re-offend, ultimately improving public safety. Collaborating on a project like this is a win-win for both the prisoners and the community”, he said.
Kim Turia, Programme Manager Community Relations
Department of Conservation, Taupō-nui-ā-tia Area Office
Ph: +64 7 384 7163