Hinemoa House ex­pands

Horowhenua Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE -

Hinemoa House is ex­pand­ing, with a new hall opened on Satur­day af­ter a slow three-year ren­o­va­tion.

Cur­rently about 130 peo­ple use the fa­cil­i­ties that the Horowhenua Kids, Teens and Fam­i­lies Trust runs on Hinemoa Street in Levin.

The new hall will al­low users to bring in larger groups, at least dou­ble the num­ber they have been able to ac­com­mo­date, said board mem­ber Graeme Sin­clair.

He said the trust be­gan in 2006 and fo­cused on at-risk youth and fam­i­lies in the Taitoko area.

“Grad­u­ally we added ac­tiv­i­ties and re­sources as needed and re­sources be­came avail­able.”

The hall was of­fi­cially opened by He­len Blake, while the tra­di­tional cake cut­ting was done by He­len Steven­son, who started Hinemoa House, and Mayor Michael Feyen.

The new hall was a ren­o­va­tion project for the trust but the slow process has meant the project is com­pletely debt free. The build­ing was brought to Levin from Hawke’s Bay in late 2015 in three pieces. The sec­tion next door to the orig­i­nal Hinemoa House was bought in 2013.

“The project was com­pleted as money be­came avail­able,” said Graeme.

“Un­til re­cently we had room for 12 to 15 peo­ple at any one time, now we can have at least 40,” said Sin­clair. The hall is also ac­ces­si­ble to the wider com­mu­nity. It can be hired for events, such as 21st birth­day par­ties. A Samoan Church has started church ser­vices on Sun­day morn­ings in the hall. Fu­ture pos­si­bil­i­ties would be bal­let or in­door bowls.

“The new build­ing al­lows for fur­ther ex­pan­sion and new pro­grammes. Peo­ple are wel­come with their ideas on how we can use the build­ing,” said Sin­clair. A Hinemoa Street res­i­dent has al­ready of­fered to share her artis­tic skills, for ex­am­ple.

The hall has a solid fence around it, which was do­nated to the trust, re­quired by the coun­cil to en­sure small chil­dren do not run out into the ad­ja­cent carpark or on to the road.

Hinemoa House of­fers fit­ness and box­ing classes five days a week for chil­dren and adults.

“There is chil­dren’s pro­gramme on Tues­day and Fri­day nights, a metham­phetamine sup­port group, a grand­moth­ers’ cof­fee morn­ing and we have started a hor­ti­cul­ture course,” said Sin­clair. Other fa­cil­i­ties in­clude a com­mu­nity wash­ing ma­chine and three lawn­mow­ers that can be hired for a gold coin do­na­tion. The trust has also run fit­ness pro­grammes in schools.

More re­cently a youth de­vel­op­ment course to teach young peo­ple life skills that will last them a life­time was set up. “So far we have in­tro­duced them to paint­ing and var­i­ous tools.”

“He­len Steven­son saw a need for sup­port for peo­ple in the area and she quickly got oth­ers on board to start Hinemoa House. We hope Hinemoa House is a place where lo­cals feel com­fort­able to come,” said Sin­clair.

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The new hall’s en­trance.

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He­len Steven­son and Mayor Michael Feyen cut the cake, which was a replica of the new hall.

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Horowhenua Kids, Teens and Fam­i­lies Trust chair­per­son Diana Posthuma wel­comes vis­i­tors to the new hall.

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