Te Whangai

Element - - BUSINESS -

Five years ago Adri­enne and Gary Dal­ton were struck by see­ing kids who their kids had been to school with go­ing to jail and coming out with few prospects.

Their so­lu­tion was to turn part of their Mi­randa dairy farm into a so­cial en­ter­prise that took the un­em­ployed and the un­em­ploy­able and showed them how to grow plants.

More than 250 peo­ple have been through the scheme over the past five years, re­ferred by Work and In­come, the po­lice, courts, and com­mu­nity groups.

A sec­ond nurs­ery has been es­tab­lished at Waiuku on land do­nated by a steel com­pay, and Dal­ton says the model, which is a char­i­ta­ble trust, can be repli­cated through­out the coun­try.

The trust has a train­ing con­tract with the Min­istry for So­cial Devel­op­ment, but 60% of the in­come comes from sale of plants, plant­ing ser­vices and en­vi­ron­men­tal con­sult­ing.

“Peo­ple con­trib­ute their skills and find out how to make the busi­ness suc­cess­ful. We teach lit­er­acy, nu­mer­acy and de­velop skills in ev­ery­thing from plant prop­a­ga­tion to dis­patch to lead­er­ship.

Te Whangai also acts a job place­ment ser­vice, ad­vo­cat­ing for its trainees with other em­ploy­ers.

“What works is giv­ing them a sense of be­long­ing, iden­ti­fy­ing their skills and show­ing them they can par­tic­i­pate and cre­ate a legacy for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions with en­vi­ron­men­tal work.

“Whangai means to nur­ture or nour­ish or cre­ate a fam­ily. Our philos­phy is we nur­ture them and the busi­ness pros­pers,” she says.

Gary and Adri­enne Dal­ton of Te Whangai:“Whangai means to nu­ture or nour­ish.”

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