Kotahi - a place for community to be together
Final inspections are complete, the last coat of paint applied. This Friday evening, the doors of Kotahi will open to celebrate the new East Auckland community centre.
Kotahi, from the Ma¯ori word kotahitanga (unity or togetherness), is a place that from the start has been intended to bless its community. The opening marks the final steps in a journey of nearly 10 years. In February 2006, when BotanyLife Community Church was in its second year, its leadership shared a dream with members; to buy a permanent, multipurpose building.
It wasn’t just about having a place for the church to use, explains BotanyLife lead pastor Brad Carr. ‘‘We wanted a building that could also be useful – a real blessing – to the wider community,’’ he says.
Having a space of their own would also allow them to free up funds that could be invested back into the community, such as BotanyLife’s annual projects, where they help refurbish local schools.
The Ti Rakau Drive location wasn’t purchased until April 2013, as saving the funds took a while, Carr says. ‘‘And as we searched, our church family continued to grow and so our size needs kept changing.’’
The property needed work, but the church leadership decided it had plenty of potential. Renovations were also a collective effort, says community pastor Mark van Wijk. ‘‘We couldn’t have done this without significant support.’’
He says assistance from a range of generous organisations, such as the Howick Local Board, Lotteries Grants board, Lion Foundation, Placemakers Pakuranga, Speedy Signs, and Christian volunteer builders MMMNZ, ‘‘has been invaluable’’.
Community connections are already being made, with a Mainly Music group on Wednesdays, while Harvest Church has services and activities through the week.
Kotahi manager Mel Thorburn says ‘‘anyone that needs a space to train, meet or celebrate – you’re welcome’’.
The Kotahi open day, with free barbecue, is at 4.30-7.30pm on Friday, November 10, at 272E Ti Rakau Drive, Burswood.
‘‘We wanted a building that could also be useful – a real blessing – to the wider community.’’
Church members, including community pastor Mark van Wijk (centre), carrying out renovation work.
BotanyLife Community Trust’s new Kotahi Centre in Ti Rakau Drive, Burswood.