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A couple from Miranda with a “passion for our people and the environment” has established a social enterprise to provide employment training for long-term unemployed and at-risk youth at their native plant nursery.
Set up in 2007, Te Whangai Trust (TWT) helps large groups of WINZ and Corrections clients from local communities to make the transition to permanent work or education. As 90% of participants are Maori, they use a culturally sensitive approach that involves the whole whanau. In October 2011, 143 trainees had found full-time employment in the community, and 24 are currently at the Trust.
Gary Dalton, a fifth generation Miranda farmer, and his Justice of the Peace wife, Adrienne, founded the organisation and run day-to-day operations on their farm.
“The Te Whangai Team exemplify the potential and latent skills of our youth – the vast majority of whom want to work and up-skill themselves,” said Adrienne Dalton.
TWT has a long-term vision to become self-sustaining, by selling native plants to publicly funded projects, businesses and various organisations undertaking environmental compliance planting. In 2010, TWT sold 45,000 trees to clients in South Auckland, Waikato and the Coromandel. At the end of 2011, sales had increased to 62,000 trees, largely as a result of their contract with NZ Steel.
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