Wahakura weaver wins community partnership award

Catharine White has won a community partnership award from the Department of Corrections. She teaches pregnant women on community work sentences to weave wahakura for at-risk babies at Gisborne Hospital.  

Corrections Lower North Regional Commissioner Paul Tomlinson presented Catharine with the award at Gisborne Community Corrections today.

Catharine works with Ngati Porou Hauora at Kaiti’s Te Whare Pumau delivering a flax weaving project for the wider community and where offenders are able to serve their community work sentence.  

Catharine is a retired nurse and member of Nukutere Weavers. She also tutors Wahakura Wananga on the east coast for Ngati Porou Hauora.

“Corrections values the commitment of our community work partners like Catharine White,” says Gisborne Community Corrections Service Manager Garth Newman.

“Weaving wahakura gives the women a means to complete their community sentence in a positive and productive way instead of doing manual labour in a work party.

They can gain valuable work and living skills while helping young at-risk mothers in their community and are also given the chance to make a basket for their own babies.,” Newman adds. 

Stephney Grayndler, Senior Community Work Supervisor at Gisborne Community Corrections, was also recognised at the presentation. Stephney received her award for managing the positive relationship between Corrections and the weaving project.  She volunteered in her own time to learn more about weaving before connecting Corrections with Catharine.

“Like many people at Corrections, Stephney wears multiple hats.  She’s a valued member of the team and the community, and volunteers with Catharine on the weaving project. She introduced the weaving project to Corrections, and it’s been positive for the mums-to-be on sentence and the community,” Newman says. 

Community work partnership awards are a way for Corrections to acknowledge individuals or organisations with an outstanding commitment to providing meaningful, challenging projects that allow offenders to make up for their offending, learn new skills and behaviours, and provide role models to make a positive difference to others.