Waikato Community Corrections are partnering with the Department of Conservation (DoC) to build predator trap boxes out of used wooden pallets provided by John 'Ollie' Aldershaw, aka Pallet Man.

Under the Department of Corrections and DoC Good to Grow partnership, people in custody or serving community work sentences are used to support a wide range of conservation projects.

The building of predator trap boxes is one of these projects, but sourcing low cost resources to manufacture them can be challenging.

That was until DoC partnerships ranger Wayne Green read the Hamilton News story in March: Frankton's Pallet Man on a mission to ignite the firewood market.


"It got us thinking — we could get community work offenders to help Ollie break down the pallets for firewood and in return we retain some of the pallet material to manufacture the trap boxes," says Wayne.

Pallets are collected from Ollie's Frankton yard and broken down at a community work site. What can't be used for the traps is then cut into firewood and returned to Ollie.

"I look at it as a win-win for everyone. We're raising money for the rescue services through the sale of the firewood, and we're helping the environment by eradicating pests and keeping this wood out of landfills," says Ollie.

Senior community work supervisor Warren Smith said it's important to give community work offenders meaningful projects to allow them to make up for their offending.

"The offenders are really motivated when making the trap boxes and splitting the firewood. They know they're doing something really positive for the environment and community, and they're learning a range of new skills at the same time.

"If the work is worthwhile and meaningful, they show up and do a good job."

So far, around 200 trap boxes have been manufactured using the pallets. The trap boxes are given to Predator-Free Hamilton, a charitable trust that works with Hamilton residents, institutions and agencies to encourage and co-ordinate the effective and humane control and eradication of pest animals within and around the city.