Young People Contribute to Making Taranaki Predator Free 

Press Release – 25 September 2018 

For Immediate Release 

Oranga Tamariki has teamed up with the Sustainable Taranaki IMPACT program for the first time this term. Young people being supported by Oranga Tamariki through the Youth Justice system have chosen to become part of the IMPACT program, and with IMPACT’s support have chosen to help Towards Predator-Free Taranaki, a region-wide project supporting biodiversity. Working with a New Plymouth Marae, they have been busy creating upcycled trapping tunnels and learning all about what they can do to help restore and protect native wildlife and plants in their local area. 

The Sustainable Taranaki IMPACT program supports young people to generate and initiate their own local sustainability projects. IMPACT teaches them team building skills as well as growing their individual strengths while they work together to design and implement the project they’ve initiated.  

The group of rangatahi supported by Oranga Tamariki has chosen to create practical pest management solutions at Katere Ki-Te-Moana Marae in Waiwhakaiho. “It’s great that the young people have chosen to get involved, focusing on something they all agree is important in their own backyard. This means that they really get to own the project, see it through and can see the impacts of it at every stage,” says Laine Phillips, IMPACT Coordinator. 

Oranga Tamariki Youth Justice Social Worker Tess Carter says the program has been a fabulous opportunity for the young people to be involved in something that makes them accountable for their offending whilst giving back to their community.  

“It has also been beneficial for our young people to make connections with Katere Ki-Te-Moana Marae, who have been very supportive of this project by sharing their knowledge and resources. IMPACT has helped our young people gain community and environmental awareness, whilst fostering individual strengths.” 

“The rangatahi have particularly enjoyed learning about the impact of pests on our environment; the protocols and tikanga of the Marae, as well as the practical activities they have been involved in,” says Tess. 

An entire pest management plan has been developed by the young people through the Sustainable Taranaki-Oranga Tamariki partnership. Starting with a field trip to Pukekura Park to check trap lines with one of Taranaki Regional Council’s Environment Officers, the rangatahi then made tracking tunnels from recycled real estate signs and placed them at Katere Marae to monitor pest levels and locations. The data collected from the tunnels was then used to plan a pest trapping program at the Marae.  

On 26 October Sustainable Taranaki, Oranga Tamariki, Ngāti Tawhirikura and Taranaki Regional Council will be celebrating the outcomes of this group of young people and their great work creating practical pest management solutions at a New Plymouth marae. The youth will lead a tour of the developed pest traps and fruit trees donated and planted in the Marae gardens.

Oranga Tamariki Youth Justice Manager for Taranaki, Trudi Baker, says the project is a wonderful collaboration that enables the young people to learn about environmental sustainability, and then engage in a relevant project that connects them to their local community.   

“We have seen some enormous benefits for the young people as it has given them a sense of achievement whilst developing some practical and leadership skills.  We look forward to continuing our relationship with Sustainable Taranaki into the future.”