2023 AWARD COMMENDATION
Sponsored by MAS
Te Whangai Trust is an ecological social enterprise that supports and advocates for New Zealanders who find it challenging to enter the workforce. People earn while they learn in a bespoke programme that creates community connections, a sense of contribution and ownership creating a legacy for future generations.
The Trust was established in 2007 by Adrienne and Gary Dalton on their Miranda farm, near Thames. It currently employs more than 70 people at its native plant nurseries and with its environment services crews. It supports more than 60 rangatahi (youth) every year. Together they grow more than 800,000 native plants a year.
The Trust’s actions have impacted thousands of rangatahi and their whanau, creating a substantial and sustainable ripple effect throughout the communities they belong to. This means that some of the most vulnerable members of our communities are contributing to our environmental sustainability and to the economy by restoring nature, waterways and biodiversity. This then helps create income streams through tourism, agriculture and horticulture, along with greater awareness that we all have a contribution to make.
For every person paroled to Te Whangai Trust, the taxpayer saves more than $120,000 a year. In a trial with NZ Police, the Trust measured a 73% reduction in recidivist offending.
By viewing business through a Te Ao Māori lens and honouring the Treaty of Waitangi as a foundational value for community, the Trust says it is providing a place and a ‘village’ for all to contribute according to their skills and abilities. ‘Ka whakatupu ki te whenua, ka ora ki te iwi’, ‘Nurture the land and give life to the people’.