Carv­ing out a bet­ter fu­ture

Selwyn and Ashburton Outlook - - FRONT PAGE - ERIN TASKER

An hor­rific car crash which al­most claimed Peter Green’s life ended up ac­tu­ally saving his life.

Af­ter years spent in and out of jail, that car ac­ci­dent – which ripped Green’s car right in half – in Jan­uary 2007, proved to be the turn­ing point in his life. He sur­vived and lit­er­ally carved out a new ca­reer for him­self. It’s a ca­reer which gives him great sat­is­fac­tion and has helped keep him out of trou­ble.

Green is a carver, cre­at­ing beau­ti­ful Maori de­signs out of pieces of sand­stone he sources from Oa­maru, in a garage at his Ash­bur­ton home.

Had it not been for the ac­ci­dent, the fa­ther-of-seven dreads to think where he’d be to­day.

‘‘I think I would be in jail, or dead. That was the life­style I was lead­ing. For me, I had to think about my next steps, what I was plan­ning on do­ing af­ter my ac­ci­dent,’’ he said.

Green was se­ri­ously in­jured in the ac­ci­dent, on the cor­ner of Race­course Road and Belt Road in Ash­bur­ton, on his way home from a night out. Yes, he was tired, and yes, he’d been drink­ing.

‘‘I think it would’ve been a com­bi­na­tion of both, but more the al­co­hol side of things (that caused the crash).’’

He spent two months in hospi­tal. Af­ter­wards, he wasn’t phys­i­cally able to do the farm­ing job he’d been do­ing prior to his ac­ci­dent.

He learned wood carv­ing while in jail, but de­cided to think big­ger af­ter his ac­ci­dent, and turned to sand­stone.

He takes his cre­ations to mar­kets and shows, and is cur­rently head­ing into his busy time – the warmer months where peo­ple start look­ing for some­thing spe­cial for their gar­den, and Christ­mas, when peo­ple are on the hunt for gifts.

He de­signs all the sculp­tures him­self, us­ing pre­dom­i­nantly koru, and each one has a spe­cial mean­ing.

‘‘The koru is recog­nised for new be­gin­nings, and new growth. I try and use what I would say is the Ma¯ ori spir­i­tual side of things in my carv­ings.’’

Green is proud of his her­itage, and has a full-face moko, which he’s worn with pride since 2000. It doesn’t al­ways get the best re­ac­tions though.

‘‘Peo­ple think we’re all gang mem­bers and crim­i­nals. It’s about how you wear it, and how you present your­self in the com­mu­nity,’’ Green said.

Green takes re­spon­si­bil­ity for his past, and doesn’t want peo­ple to judge or stereo­type him.

‘‘I was brought up with vi­o­lence in the home, al­co­hol in the home, but I had a lov­ing fam­ily.

‘‘I’ve left that all be­hind now and am fo­cussed on keep­ing out of trou­ble, and try­ing to help oth­ers that are slowly mov­ing into that en­vi­ron­ment.’’

To­day, he’s en­rolled to vote for the first time. He loves pol­i­tics, get­ting in­volved with his kids sport, and help­ing the com­mu­nity. He’s a carv­ing tu­tor at the Methven Sum­mer School and has joined the com­mit­tee.

He of­ten shares his story with young peo­ple, through his own kids, sport, and schools.

‘‘Jail was my sec­ond home and I had to wake up. It took me 30 years to snap out of the jail life and think to my­self, ‘what am I do­ing in here? I’m get­ting con­trolled by the sys­tem.’

He isn’t per­fect. Yes, there’s been a drink driv­ing con­vic­tion since his ac­ci­dent. But, Green knows he’s on a much bet­ter path now than he was be­fore his ac­ci­dent, and has big hopes for the fu­ture.

‘‘I’m try­ing to do the best I can for my fu­ture, and for my fam­ily’s fu­ture. I don’t know what it is yet, but I’m tak­ing lit­tle steps and wait­ing to take that big leap.’’

Peter Green dis­cov­ered sand­stone carv­ing af­ter a car ac­ci­dent al­most took his life, and never looked back.

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