News | 28 September 2021

Community support in heart of the city

Wellington’s new community base, Te Wāhi Āwhina, is helping to make social services and local assistance more accessible for people who live in the central city.

Marama Davidson standing in a skirt and red jacket to the right of the glass-windowed front of Te Wahi Awhina, a community support hub on Courtenay Place.

It is also increasing the safety of Te Aro Park and surrounding areas through an approach centred on manaaki and aroha.

Opposite Te Aro Park and next to the Opera House, Te Wāhi Āwhina opened in May 2021 and is part of the Pōneke Promise – a coordinated, community-driven initiative creating collective change to keep our city safe.

This partnership approach is reflected at Te Wāhi Āwhina, where people who drop in are connected to a support service that meets their specific need.

The Police and agencies such as the Ministry of Social Development, DCM, the Salvation Army, Māori Wardens and Wellington Community Law have a regular presence in the space, and love having a central base where they can bring their services to the people who need them.

Pastor Joe, from the Salvation Army, says in the short time since Te Wāhi Āwhina opened, there have been numerous success stories, with people accessing food support, housing, and advocacy through the base.

“It’s really awesome having a space where everyone can link up and work together. It’s a place where the community can drop-in, get information or be referred to services – but most importantly, it’s a place where they can come for a cup of tea, a kōrero, and feel heard and supported.”

A red, blue, purple, and white mural of Māori influence on a wall at the back of a room with white flowers on a round table to the left and a yellow couch and tall blue filing cabinet to the right.

Since the Pōneke Promise was launched with the opening of Te Wāhi Āwhina, there has been a noticeably positive change in the area, and members of the central city community have echoed this shift.

The Pōneke Promise is being delivered with partners across local government, NZ Police and the city’s hospitality and retail sectors. Wellington City Council is proud to be part of this collaborative approach, unifying the community and stakeholders while focusing on wellbeing for all city dwellers and users.

A space for the community

Just a few doors along from Te Wāhi Āwhina, a brand new central city community centre will be opening later this year.

Here, at 107 Manners Street, central city residents will be able to gather and participate in a programme of meaningful events and activities that improve the quality of life in our communities.

This space, alongside neighbouring Te Wāhi Āwhina, will provide a strong foundation for other changes that improve safety, vibrancy and community wellbeing in the area, including upgrades to the surrounding laneways, new art installations, and events in Te Aro Park.

To find out more about the Pōneke Promise, visit wellington.govt.nz/the-poneke-promise

Check out the latest Our Wellington - Tō Tātou Pōneke magazine to find this story, project updates, hidden gems to discover, and events happening around Wellington.