Crime pays for conservation

Katrina Knill —  01/09/2009

Our partnership with Department of Corrections is proving so successful that Tauranga community service workers are now queuing up to do conservation work.

A great deal of this success can be credited to Ranger Steve, who just seems to have a knack for being able to make connections with people and get them working with him. 

Ranger Steve in action

Ranger Steve in action

Over the last month, Steve has had 3-5 gangs of up to 10 people, working four days a week on maintaining and upgrading walking tracks in the Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park

It’s hard labour; they walk up to 10km each day, lift heavy materials, pull & cut weeds, but when they line up for duty allocation, these convicted criminals are asking to go to the bush as their job of choice.

We’ve estimated that in the last month alone, the Corrections programme has contributed more than 3800 man hours of work that if contracted out, could have cost DOC more than $25 000.

That’s a significant contribution, but the benefits are more than financial and both parties appear to be winning. 

Many of the community service workers have sentences of 400hours or more, that means Steve has been seeing a lot of them and the changes are signficant – they’re becoming motivated, taking pride in their work, learning new skills and connecting with the land – they’re really interested in the plants and animals that live in the forest and Steve is teaching them along the way.

Part of the goal of Conservation Week is to get new audiences involved in conservation – Steve’s already doing that on a daily basis, but we’re also running a special Conservation Week event this year with community service workers where they’ll be finishing off the weed clearing and carpark upgrade work they’ve been doing at the Kaimai Summit with a planting day.

Katrina Knill


I work for DOCs Tauranga Office, where I co-ordinate our public liaison efforts with stakeholders & the general public. I get to work with our staff and community groups as well as helping out in emergencies such as forest fires, whale strandings and dealing with injured birds, seals etc.

One response to Crime pays for conservation


    Kauri tree track, Katikati, Good work being done on this track by dept of correction workers,big ups to you people.