Pris­on­ers grow­ing trees for Auck­land

Auckland City Harbour News - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - ZIZI SPARKS

Auck­land mayor Phil Goff has seen some of the trees which will be planted as part of his plan to plant one mil­lion trees in Auck­land over the next three years.

Mil­lion Trees is an am­bi­tious $3 mil­lion pro­gramme, which aims to off­set the city’s car­bon emis­sions and pre­vent silt build up in Auck­land’s har­bours and water­ways through the plant­ing of mostly na­tive trees.

Auck­land Coun­cil teamed up with the De­part­ment of Cor­rec­tions for the ini­tia­tive, which would utilise pris­on­ers for labour.

In­mates would prop­a­gate and ger­mi­nate the seeds while com­mu­nity work of­fend­ers would plant them.

Last week Goff vis­ited the plant nurs­ery at Auck­land Prison at Pare­moremo to see some of the seeds be planted.

‘‘You guys are go­ing to change the whole na­ture of Auck­land and make the city re­ally look good,’’ Goff told the in­mates.

He said the project would make Auck­land green and beau­ti­ful while up­skilling in­mates.

‘‘The guys that are work­ing here are learn­ing skills as hor­ti­cul­tur­ists. They’re giv­ing some­thing back to the com­mu­nity and the De­part­ment of Cor­rec­tions will be lit­er­ally pro­vid­ing us with hun­dreds of thou- sands of trees,’’ Goff said.

‘‘It’s giv­ing peo­ple skills, al­low­ing peo­ple to con­trib­ute back to the com­mu­nity and mak­ing our city green and beau­ti­ful.’’

Prison di­rec­tor Andy Lan­g­ley said in­mates at Auck­land Women’s prison and at Auck­land South Cor­rec­tions Fa­cil­ity were also con­tribut­ing to the project.

‘‘We’re re­ally ex­cited to be part of this be­cause of the skills our guys get from this and it gives them an op­por­tu­nity to get a job back in the com­mu­nity.’’

One in­mate who worked in the plant nurs­ery said it was some­thing he en­joyed and hoped to pur­sue on re­lease.

‘‘I came to prison with noth­ing. Now I’ve got a level four ad­vanced in hor­ti­cul­ture,’’ he said, which was one step shy of a diploma.

Trees were al­ready be­ing al­lo­cated with 30,000 go­ing to the North West Wild Link, a cor­ri­dor of linked ecosys­tems from Shake­spear Park in Whanga­paraoa through to the Waitakere Ranges, and Puhinui Re­serve in South Auck­land.

An ad­di­tional 25,000 trees and shrubs were al­lo­cated for Atiu Creek on the north Auck­land bor­der and 15,000 al­lo­cated for Whau River and streams in Hen­der­son.

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