Corrections has recognised its successful 25 year relationship with Palmerston North City Council with a Community Partnership Award.

The Award recognises the ongoing support and collaboration with the Council on projects that benefit the local community.  Projects have involved community-based offenders and supervised prison work parties.

From left: District Manager Hati Kaiwai, PNCC Cr Lorna Johnson, Service Manager Dean Wilson and Assistant Manawatu Prison Director Ron Whelan.

“The Award is well-deserved,” says Wairarapa-Manawatu District Manager Hati Kaiwai.

“Council has provided meaningful projects that enable the people we manage to contribute to the community as well as gain skills, experience and knowledge they can share with their families.

“Community-based offenders on community work sentences have been involved in some notable projects including the Esplanade Miniature Railway project, graffiti removal, constructing BMX tracks, the community garden and maintaining local walking tracks.”

About 80% of the 7000 square metre land the Council owns near the racecourse has been turned into a community garden.  Corrections leases the land from Council and started the garden in 2013.

“The community garden project benefits a lot of people in the community as the vegies are donated to Just Zilch and other foodbanks. As well as generously donating mulch and fertiliser for the garden, Council has also provided fruit trees for an orchard that will boost food bank donations,” says Mr Kaiwai.

One of the early projects in the 25 year partnership was the walkway between Pacific Drive and Turitea Valley Road on the outskirts of Palmerston North. The walkway was built by a supervised prison work party led by a well-respected prison instructor.

“Supervised prison work parties have been involved in building walkways, boardwalks, bridges, staircases, fence lines in Springdale to Old West Road Walkway, Sledge Track, Pit Park, Summerhill Heights, Linklater Reserve and Pacific Drive,” says Assistant Manawatu Prison Director Ron Whelan.

“They’ve also built and done maintenance work on Sledge Track at Linton, laid gravel and built sections of the Te Araroa Trail.

“The men have developed skills that on release have helped them get work in forestry, farming and road construction industries.”

All prison work parties are supervised and prisoners must meet strict eligibility criteria.

PNCC Councillor Lorna Johnson received the award in a presentation at Palmerston North Community Corrections on Tuesday. Cr Johnson also received a carving from Manawatu Prison, made by prisoners carved from miro and matai with a harakeke background.

“From a City Council perspective, the efforts from Manawatu Prison and Corrections’ community work groups enable us to achieve our goals in a beautiful city with excellent recreational opportunities quickly and effectively,” says Ms Johnson.

“It’s a win-win for everyone really. It’s a win for Corrections. It’s a win for the offenders completing the work, it’s a win for City Council and it’s a win for the rest of Palmerston North.”

Community partnership awards are a way for Corrections to acknowledge individuals or organisations with an outstanding commitment to providing meaningful, challenging projects that allow offenders to make up for their offending, learn new skills and behaviours, and provide role models to make a positive difference to others.

Corrections manages offenders to hold them to account to comply with their sentences and orders, reduce their likelihood of re-offending, minimise their risk to others, and help them become productive and contributing members of society.