High­bury farewell


When Bruce Maden re­lin­quishes his role in charge of Te Aroha Noa in High­bury, he will have spent 27 years in the job.

‘‘Twenty-seven years was not my in­ten­tion. Te Aroha Noa was set up by a Cen­tral Baptist Church pas­tor who asked would I com­mit to seven years.’’

Maden had not long been back in Palmer­ston North, bring­ing up three chil­dren as a stay-at-home dad, while wife El­iz­a­beth taught in city pri­mary schools.

Te Aroha Noa was the re­sult of a com­mu­nity vi­sion by church mem­bers to use their pro­fes­sional skills to ben­e­fit one of the poorer suburbs in the city.

‘‘There was no money and no build­ings. A play­group was set up with a box of do­nated toys on a do­nated rug in a church hall once a week.’’

Now Te Aroha Noa op­er­ates two early child­hood cen­tres that an­nu­ally en­gage more than 100 chil­dren. Maden started as a vol­un­teer. ‘‘A trust was set up in 1990. The church dug re­ally deep to buy its first house on Brent­wood Ave, and ren­o­vated it... They also dug deep to pro­vide my salary. I was em­ployed on Fe­bru­ary 1, 1991.’’

Since then the trust has pur­chased 10 more prop­er­ties on the street, to house a youth learn­ing hub, the whanau devel­op­ment team, a com­mu­nity lounge, a sup­ported rental for teen par­ents, and from March, a clinic out­post of the Health Hub Project be­ing set up in the cen­tral city Down­town shop­ping cen­tre.

‘‘I’m an ad­ven­turer, re­ally, and why I’ve stayed here is be­cause there was al­ways room for one more dream.’’

Grow­ing up in Palmer­ston North, at­tend­ing Trin­ity Methodist on Cuba St, Maden was greatly in­flu­enced by the so­cial jus­tice ethos prac­tised by the late Merv Han­cock and Bertha Zurcher.

With a sci­ence de­gree from Massey and his mas­ters in ap­plied so­cial work from Vic­to­ria Univer­sity, Maden cut his so­cial work­ing teeth on the mean streets of Porirua East.

Maden fin­ishes as chief ex­ec­u­tive on Fe­bru­ary 24.

He will still be at Te Aroha Noa, tak­ing over ‘‘in­no­va­tive projects and fund­ing’’, and help­ing the tran­si­tion of his re­place­ment Rene Aish, who has moved from Auck­land for the role.

‘‘It’s been very sat­is­fy­ing, and while I’d like to re­duce the stress of the job, pack­ing up and go­ing fish­ing for the rest of my life wasn’t that at­trac­tive.’’


Bruce Maden at one of two Te Aroha Noa early child­hood cen­tres.

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