Hobson/Bay of Islands/Northland MP John Carter was always a fan of Project Employment Programme (PEP) schemes. He believed they gave the opportunity for those who were without work the chance to gain income and skills, and, when they were scrapped by a Labour government, argued that many of the workers took great pride in what they had done in their communities.
Kaitaia woman Beryl Andresen wasn't arguing with any of that when she unearthed a photo of her and her workmates in early 1980, which was published in the Northland Age.
Beryl, who was with a gang painting bridges, said it was the best job she ever had.
He gang painted every state highway bridge from Waikuruki (North Rd, Kaitaia) to Mangonui, then moved on to Mangamuka, Kāeo and Kaikohe.
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Later they diversified into fencing, slashing roadside vegetation, checking and painting marker posts.
"I don't know how many times I walked over the Mangamuka Gorge, painting marker posts," she said.
Three or four of her fellow workers had gone on to acquire their heavy traffic licences.
Beryl worked under PEP from 1980 to 1982, when she was employed by the Kaitaia Borough Council as part of a town beautification team, under Ian Shoosmith. She left in 1983 to start raising a family.
The PEP scheme was administered locally by the Mangonui County Council.