Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Rotorua Community Work create whānau-friendly track

Rotorua Community Work create whānau-friendly track

Community work offenders in Rotorua have built a bike track for children to learn to ride.

Department of Corrections Community Work Supervisor Malcolm McHale (or ‘Whero’ as he is called locally), Rotorua Lakes council worker Ray Keers, and Rotorua community work centre offenders have teamed up to create the ‘Mokopuna Trail’ in Whakarewarewa Forest (known to locals as the ‘Redwoods’).

The Mokopuna track is 3.6kms long and is the only track in the heart of the Redwoods that is designed for both walking and biking.
The track was originally designed for families to take their children while they were learning how to ride “balance bikes” while their parents walked beside them, says Corrections Rotorua, Taupo Tokoroa District Manager Raema Mackay.

“The track twists and turns to keep the gradient low, hence the distance. There are no steep hills or sharp corners like many of the other tracks in the Redwoods. The Community Work crew worked with Whero to plan the track so it would be as accessible and useable as possible for local whānau while still giving them that special Redwoods experience.”

The 56- hectare Whakarewarewa Forest has long been a favoured playground for horse riders, mountain bikers, walkers and hikers drawn to its magnificent stands of towering native and exotic trees, especially its Californian Coastal Redwoods.

Whero has been working in the Redwoods for more than 20 years and over this time has designed and built many walking and mountain bike tracks.

To start the Mokopuna track, all undergrowth including trees, scrub and ponga had to be cleared in order to create the pathway. Once completed, gravel was laid out to define the track.

The effort put in to develop the track can be clearly seen with the amount of gravel that was used. Gravel was delivered to the Redwoods by the truckload, with each one covering about 30 metres. In all, the track required 120 truckloads of gravel.

It was a lot of hard work which really showed the dedication and patience of those involved, says Raema.

“Once all the gravel was delivered, it was moved manually by the Corrections’ team who shovelled it onto a trailer that was carted in to the forest, and then shovelled it off the trailer on to the track. It certainly wasn’t an easy job but those who put in the labour are really proud of what they have achieved, with many of the offenders returning with their own children to show off their handwork.”

The Mokopuna track took around 16 months to complete and was finished by autumn 2016.

Raema praised the efforts of Whero, the Rotorua Community Work team and Rotorua Community Work Offenders.

“Rain, hail or shine, Whero would pack up his crew and head to the track. Many offenders have commented on how proud they are that this is something they have helped to create and somewhere they can take their whānau to bask in its beauty.”

Working on the track is about more than just contributing to the community, says Raema.

“Although it’s important to give something back, it’s also important that we help people to develop knowledge, skills and attitudes that are going to help them to not commit further crimes. In relation to the work done here, there are the obvious skills such as track building, health and safety, basic tool use, landscaping, and plant identification. However there are also less obvious but equally important things like learning to work well with others, developing a good work ethic, problem solving, interpersonal communication, and time management.

When we combine projects like this with initiatives like our suite of Work and Living Skills programmes and our education, training and employment interventions, we often see fantastic positive change in the people we are working with.”

Since January, people serving community work sentences in Rotorua have completed more than 41,000 hours on various projects which have contributed to the local community. Of those hours, nearly 7,500 have been spent working with Whero on tracks in the bush. Other tracks completed by the crews include the Puarenga Stream track, Duck Pond, and the Kurungaituku Track – just to name a few.

Another big project currently underway is at Te Puna o Pekehaua - Taniwha Springs.


Additional Information:

Corrections’ Central Region covers a large geographic area from just north of Te Kauwhata to just south of Turangi stretching across the widest part of New Zealand. The Corrections’ Central Region includes more than 20 Community Corrections sites and three prisons (Tongariro Prison, Waikeria Prison and Spring Hill Corrections Facility) across three Districts: Bay of Plenty, Waikato, and Rotorua/Taupo/Tokoroa.

Nationally each week the Department of Corrections manage over 35,000 sentences and orders in the community and over 9,000 people in prison. Our 8,000 staff are committed to supporting offenders to help them address their offending and gain skills that will help them lead a crime-free life.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Implications Of The Travel Bubble

Amidst the coverage of the hugs and kisses and reunion tears one hates to be a killjoy… But there has been little attention paid to the pattern of travel we’re likely to see with the Trans-tasman bubble. Clearly, there has been a lot of pent-up demand for the Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR) kind of travel which – while welcome on humanitarian grounds - will be of less benefit to our ailing tourism industry than say, holiday excursions and high-end business travel... More>>


Government: Border Exceptions Will See More Families Reunited

Hundreds more families who were separated by the border closure will be reunited under new border exceptions announced today, Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi said. More>>


National: Proposed Hate Speech Laws A Step Too Far

Reports of the Government’s proposed new hate speech laws go a step too far and risk sacrificing the freedoms New Zealanders enjoy, National’s Justice spokesperson Simon Bridges says. “The reforms are supposedly including protections to every ... More>>


Agriculture: Government To Phase Out Live Exports By Sea

The Government has announced that the export of livestock by sea will cease following a transition period of up to two years, said Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. “At the heart of our decision is upholding New Zealand’s reputation for high ... More>>


PM Ardern And PM Morrison: Commencement Of Two-Way Quarantine-Free Travel Between Australia And New Zealand

Joint Statement by Prime Ministers Scott Morrison and Jacinda Ardern Commencement of two-way quarantine-free travel between Australia and New Zealand Today, Australia and New Zealand have fulfilled their commitment to establish two-way quarantine free ... More>>

Claire Breen: ACC’s Policy Of Not Covering Birth Injuries Is One More Sign The System Is Overdue For Reform

Claire Breen , University of Waikato Recent media coverage of women not being able to get treatment for birth injuries highlights yet another example of gender bias in healthcare in New Zealand. More>>

Police: Police Accept Findings Of IPCA Report Into Photographs Taken At Checkpoint

Police accept the findings of a report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) relating to photographs taken at a checkpoint in Northland. On November 16, 2019, Police set up a checkpoint down the road from a fight night event in Ruakaka ... More>>





InfoPages News Channels