Errol Kalmancsi has been given the task of getting ex-offenders into employment.

"It's a blank canvas," he says in a role that has been newly created to bridge the gap between iwi, Ngati Kahungunu, and the Department of Corrections.

Kalmancsi is a Hungarian Maori who hails from Rotorua, Te Arawa and Tuhourangi is his hapu. He started the role in November last year.

His love of helping people is what drew him to the job so that he can make a difference in people's lives.


"If I can do my little bit that's me, it was a no brainer," he says.

"It's about trying to get them through the door because they've got a lot of things going on so it's about getting them work ready."

He's the community offender recruitment consultant for Corrections and it's a job he takes seriously.

"It's hard a road to hoe. Last month in January, we got 16 people into work, one non-Maori and the rest Kahungunu, which is a good win," he says.

"It's about connecting people, it's more about what we can do to create a pathway because we have a lot of people with no skills.

"I love to help Maori too because we are very disproportionate, considering how much of the population is Maori, compared to how many are in prison."

The most recent statistics show that Maori make up almost 15 per cent of the population while they make up 51 per cent of the prison population nationwide.

Kalmancsi says that finding employment can be difficult because of the many challenges they are facing in their lives.

"They don't live normal lives as we know it because of their backgrounds and offending history.

"They don't always have the right support at home, whether it's drugs, alcohol issues, some of them are young and not brought up with a proper work ethic."

But he says it's about breaking that cycle, that train of thought, so that they can see the future in having a job.

He's creating relationships with some of the biggest construction and forestry companies in Hawke's Bay where he hopes to create pre-employment training opportunities for the men.

"It'll give them skills to go forward which can lead to a sustainable career opportunity, something that pays well and can lead them somewhere."

The collective outcome between Corrections and Ngati Kahungunu is to work with employers who are willing to give them a second chance at life and for the men to become reliable employees.