When sole parent Borrell Watene moved back to Hawke's Bay, he was on the lookout for a new job.
Watene has custody of his two children and needed something that worked around his kids' schooling.
His Work and Income case manager floated an idea he take part in a new pilot programme, called He Huarahi Hou (New Pathway), offering flexible work hours for solo parents at apple giant T&G as well as lifts to and from work if needed.
He has not looked back and has been working at T&G's packhouse in Whakatu since March, alongside five other parents also taking part in the work program.
"I drop my kids off at school then come to work, then finish work and go and get my kids," Watene said.
"It's been good working five hours a day ... in the past I have had jobs where I have worked eight hours or 10 hours a day then I miss out on the time with my kids."
He said for those who needed a lift or didn't have a vehicle, Māori wardens offered rides to work.
"Some of the dads and mums on the program don't have a vehicle so that's good that the Māori wardens can support them in that."
Māori wardens also help the parents' children where needed to get to and from school, and help the workers navigate Government agencies, including with housing inquiries.
Watene said he moved in December from Hamilton back to Hawke's Bay, where he grew up, to make a fresh start following a divorce.
He said he did not have a "very good past" and wanted to be a better example for his children.
"It gets quite challenging sometimes as a solo parent, having the children full time with their characters and my own character, and trying to be a good example for them."
He said this job was helping him on that journey and also to provide for his kids and he was grateful for the opportunity.
Watene said a perk of the job was being able to take home fresh apples when they were offered to the workers.
He Huarahi Hou is a partnership between the Ministry of Social Development, Māori Wardens, and apple company T&G.
The pilot program will initially run for six months, but could be rolled out in other businesses and sectors in the future if it proves successful.
T&G team co-ordinator Theresa Aranui, best known as Aunty Theresa, has also been helping the group of parents.
She said T&G had a similar programme about 10 years ago and it was awesome to see it brought back.
The pilot program has been rolled out at a time when workers have been in high demand in the horticulture industry.
T&G Global director of operations Craig Betty said the new partnership was making a difference in people's lives and introducing them to a career in horticulture.
"We know sole parents can sometimes face barriers which might hold them back from
working, such as support, transport and flexibility. We want to help remove these barriers."