Robert Padget with lawnmowers on their way to Whanganui Prison. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

GIANINA SCHWANECKE
gianina.schwanecke@age.co.nz

A new initiative has seen prisoners and those serving community work sentences involved in efforts to reduce, reuse, and recycle by using restored lawnmowers.

The discarded lawnmowers are donated to Corrections New Zealand by EnviroWaste, then repaired and restored by prisoners in Whanganui Prison before being used for maintenance work around the Wairarapa and Manawatu districts.

Nick Eagland, Probation Officer from Palmerston North Community Corrections said the programme had been going for slightly less than a year and was a great initiative.

The idea came from Robert Padget after he noticed lawnmowers at an EnviroWaste site.

He knew that workshops were being run teaching prisoners how to refurbish lawnmowers and decided to combine the two.

Eagland said it gave them something to “strive for” and the workshops were popular.

“It gives the guys skills that they can use to go and get work, or even just teaches them how to fix their own lawnmowers.”

The 25 or so refurbished mowers were also well-suited to the hard work and there was less worry about them being broken, he said.

Masterton Community Corrections service manager Melanie Morris said the agency was making good use of the repaired lawnmowers.

“The lawnmower is really appreciated and is getting lots of use at various community-based projects where we do grounds maintenance,” she said.

“We’ll receive more repaired lawnmowers as we need them.”

The lawnmowers are used by those completing community service sentences, where offenders complete unpaid work as a way of atoning for their offending.

In Wairarapa this includes helping with the set up and dismantling of the Wairarapa Pigeon and Poultry Club Show at the Solway Showgrounds, grounds maintenance at Tauherenikau Racecourse, Henley Lake and Queen Elizabeth II Park, and clearing water and walkways around the region.