Mayors Taskforce for Jobs planting seeds for success in young people

Published on 06 November 2023

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A planting project for storm recovery in Fletcher Bay is giving rangatahi opportunities in horticulture, as part of a grassroots employment programme in Thames-Coromandel.

Four young people have been working in Fletcher Bay on a planting programme to help with the area’s storm recovery. The project at is focused on the local campground’s flood resilience, following the impacts of the North Island weather events in early 2023.

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“The first thing I thought when I arrived at the planting site was ‘What a magnificent view’,” says Tama Reuban. “The best part is seeing how much the plants are growing – some of them are up to 30cm now.”

The work is the result of a collaboration between the Department of Conservation, the Pare Hauraki Native Nursery, and the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs (MTFJ) Community Employment Programme and delivered in partnership with Local Government New Zealand.


The plants used in the project were grown at the Pare Hauraki Native Nursery in Thames by another MTFJ employee, who helped nurture the 75,000 seedlings required for the work. Seeds were collected from the locations where they will be planted, meaning they’ll be well suited to the conditions.

TCDC Mayor Len Salt visited the Pare Hauraki Native Nursery in Thames recently.

“It’s clear from talking with these young people that this on-the-job experience is crucial to their success. The programme is just one of the great examples in our region of localism in action,” he says. “They’re able to put their skills and interests into practice, and it’s fantastic to see how much they’ve enjoyed the outdoors work and seeing the end results of the efforts in the nursery. Plus, this sort of resilience planting work is of such long-term value to our wider community.”

The Pare Hauraki Nursery Project is an existing 3-year Kaimahi Jobs for Nature Project established in July 2021. DOC’s purchase of the 75,000 plants required for the Fletcher Bay project enabled Pare Hauraki, supported by MTFJ, to employ the rangatahi in the nursery.

Pare Hauraki employed the four rangatahi as part of the planting team at the DOC Fletcher Bay planting site. The five-month fixed-term contracts are due to finish at the end of October, and Ngāti Maru, as a provider for MTFJ, will now continue to work with the rangatahi to secure them further employment.


Employers who’d like to support a young person into employment are encouraged to contact Ngāti Maru, who will help with placement of work-ready jobseekers and offer continued pastoral care to settle them into their new role.

Ngāti Maru say they also welcome any new rangatahi who’d like to come in and find out about career path or employment opportunities to give them a call on 07 868 9104

Want to get started in horticulture?

As part of the native nursery initiative, Pare Hauraki have also teamed up with Valley Education to offer a horticulture Level 3 qualification, providing students with flexible and inclusive options to complete their coursework and assessments, including the option to submit work orally rather than in writing. Valley Education has a rolling intake for the horticulture course. If you’d like to register your interest, please contact Valley Education on, or 07 868 7042. Visit

About Mayors Taskforce for Jobs


MTFJ is a movement of mayors around Aotearoa who advocate for a bottom-up approach to employment solutions to deliver the Community Employment Programme (CEP) along with broader initiatives. In particular, CEP is a nationwide partnership between Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) and the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) that’s delivering great outcomes in our rural and provincial communities. It’s championed by mayors who are working together towards the vision of all young people 16-25 engaged in employment, education, or training in their communities. 

Click here to find out more.

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