Sometimes there are good stories from people who have been sent to prison for crimes…they actually do turn their lives around. They should be celebrated because they are so rare.
When Peter Tuapawa competes in the grand final of the national Young Butcher of the Year contest later this month, it will mark a remarkable chapter in a story of redemption.
Six years ago, the now 27-year-old was jailed after pleading guilty to being an accessory after the fact of a crime. A childhood friend of Tuapawa’s was later convicted of that crime – the murder of a man whose body was found washed up on the shore of a Wellington bay.
The sentencing judge said that Tuapawa – then known by a different surname – had nothing to do with the man’s death or the dumping of his body. But the judge said the young butcher had acted out of “stupid loyalty”.
Tuapawa had helped dispose of and cover up potential evidence of the crime.
Tuapawa, whose skills had seen him make the finals of a top butchery contest in 2004, was sentenced to 15 month’s jail. He spent about three months behind bars before being released on home detention.
Now, as he prepares for the Young Butcher of the Year final on August 24, Tuapawa has told of how he has since turned his life around and returned to the trade he loves.
He spoke to Sunday News on Friday to show other young people who have made a bad mistake that they, too, can turn their lives around. He also wanted to thank those who have stood by and supported him.