Once "New Zealand's most wanted criminal", Adrian Pritchard has been free from crime for 20 years.

Married with three children, his dream is to work as support worker for mental health and addictions, something he's already qualified for.

But no one will hire him because of his previous convictions.

"I'd also love to work with security companies, helping them understand how criminals work and their psychology, especially when it comes to robbing or breaking into homes."

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Pritchard once joined national television host Toni Street on television, educating her and the rest of New Zealand on how to properly secure homes from criminals.

He's written a book, Second Chance, about his life and has handed thousands of copies out in prisons, gangs, prostitutes and at-risk youth programmes.

He's in the process of writing another, providing information to residents about how to keep their homes and vehicles secure from burglaries.

Pritchard has written a book and is in the process of writing another. Photo / Duncan Brown
Pritchard has written a book and is in the process of writing another. Photo / Duncan Brown

"In the past, we stole 33 cars in one year. I know how these guys work. Now I want to help the community to prevent it from happening to them."

When he's not doing that he's giving motivational talks to young people who are heading down the same path as him, he visits gang homes and speaks to members and their families.

Pritchard says he left his past back in his prison cell 20 years ago when he left as a free and changed man, but society doesn't see it that way.

"Certain people certainly judge you by looking at your past, they don't care to look at where you're heading or what you're trying to achieve now.

"The message I always put out to kids today is when you do crime, join gangs and do drugs - when you're free of it, society still remembers. Even when you change, society remembers."

Pritchard says the clean slate legislation isn't working. Photo / Duncan Brown
Pritchard says the clean slate legislation isn't working. Photo / Duncan Brown

Pritchard says he has great difficulty finding jobs and even accommodation at times due to references and background checks.

He's reached out to MPs Stuart Nash and Andrew Little about the Clean Slate scheme, saying that it doesn't work for himself and those in similar situations who are desperately seeking work.

"It doesn't give you any promises or security about the seven-year cut off. How can we get jobs? How can employers go back when you were really young and do a criminal check on you? It's ridiculous."

Pritchard says he's experienced the same look on employers' faces when he's through to the final interview, then told them about his criminal record.

"As soon as I see their reaction I say is 'I wanted to face you because what you see on a piece of paper is not what you get when you see me face to face. I'm a different person'."