Te Whare Roimata seeks to develop culturally appropriate, treaty-based, grassroots self-help responses to issues and concerns of the people of the eastern inner city neighbourhoods and urban Maori with the purpose of developing a more self-reliant and self-sufficient community that is better able to meet its needs. Te Whare Roimata achieves its aims by encouraging local participation and leadership, working collectively to build and strengthen community, promote well-being and social cohesion, and provide a voice for people to advocate social change.
Fundamental to Te Whare Roimata's work is a commitment to the principles of community development, bi-cultural partnership, social justice and environmentally sustainable development. A firm commitment to whanau development and providing a turangawaewae for residents to stand tall lies at heart of our work, so to enable people to find expression for their skills and talents.
The Board of the Te Whare Roimata Trust is responsible for governing the organisation and providing the overall development, direction and vision for the organisation. The Board is also the employing body. A project advisory/management group oversees the daily running of projects. These groups meet regularly and are accountable to the Trust Board. An annual Hui is held each year in October and is part of the organisation's annual review and planning process. Two paid coordinators are responsible for the day to day running of the organisation which is housed on three sites. The principles underpinning the organisation's kaupapa are central to the agency's way of working.
Te Whare Roimata was established in 1987 by the Christchurch City Mission in response to a Community Needs Study of the area undertaken in late 1986.
In 1996 Te Whare Roimata became a charitable trust. It was registered under the Charities Commission in 2008. Prior to the trust being established Te Whare Roimata came under the legal umbrella of the Christchurch City Mission. While separate, the partnership relationship is maintained between these two organisations.
The key projects of Te Whare Roimata include:
The Support and Outreach Programme began in 1991. This scheme focuses on improving the social well-being of residents from the eastern inner city. Breaking down isolation and strengthening neighbourhoods by developing personal support and community networks is the key focus of the scheme. This programme facilitates both personal growth, the development of social skills, and the widening of individual support networks. People are assisted to access information and resources such as benefit entitlements and medical care, are empowered to obtain their basic rights, and ensure that their essential needs are met.
Requests are assessed by one of the two part-time co-ordinators and where appropriate, sensitively matched to a trained support volunteer worker. Acting in the role of listener, advocate and good neighbour, the volunteer provides support/awhi, friendship and encouragement. Volunteers may be involved in a range of tasks including taking the person on outings, regular visits at the person's/family's home, linking them wjith appropriate groups and/or people services, supervising access visits for 'at risk' children with their parents, undertaking practical tasks such as form-filling, shopping, and observing and monitoring a person's general well-being.
In 2004 the scheme expanded to incorporate the Older Person's Project sponsored by the Hagley-Ferrymead Community Board. A central focus is to enable older people to age well in their own homes. Many of the people the scheme supports would not usually come to the notice of traditional support agencies.
This project employs a Maori Community Worker to develop culturally appropriate responses to the issues faced by Maori living in the marginalised inner city east neighbourhood and eastern suburbs of Christchurch. Additionally, the Community Worker provides cultural advice to both the workers and the programmes of Te Whare Roimata.
Many Maori living in the inner city east and eastern suburbs of Christchurch have loose iwi affiliations, experience considerable hardship, have poor health, contend with discrimination and are alienated from their iwi roots. The aim of the project is to empower local Maori to bring about change at a variety of levels, work towards building whanau leadership and capacity, and develop grassroot responses and strengthen cultural leadership. Underpinning the project is a commitment to the principles of Maori development and self-determination.Much emphasis is placed on the traditional priciples of whanau, whakapono, tumanko, aroha, manaakitanga and awhi. Issues relating to health, justice, housing, welfare, poverty, employment, recreation and the traditional growing of kai are of prime importance.
The Maori Community Work project is part of Te Whare Roimata's commitment to a Treaty-based way of working. The project follows a Maori Kaupapa and is responsible for holding hui, identifying and responding to need, building up the indigenous leadership, and developing and extending people's knowledge and understanding the Taha Maori.
Te Whare Roimata's arts and cultural programme is committed to enabling people on limited incomes living primarily in the eastern inner city neighbourhoods of Richmond, Linwood, Phillipstown, Charleston and the inner city east to gain access to, and participate in a broad range of cultural and artistic activities. Much encouragement is given to people to experiment with the arts and to nurture and support the growth and development of fledgling and emerging artists. The centrepiece of Te Whare Roimata's arts and cultural programme is the Linwood Community Arts Centre project.
Since its establishment in 1997, the Linwood Community Arts Centre has provided a wide range of learning opportunities for people of all ages to become involved in the creative and performing arts. At the same time, artists have been able to sell their creations or receive payment for their performances, helping to generate their own income.
We have a varied programme of classes and workshops catering for both adults and children, regular arts-related holiday programmes for school age children, gallery space for individuals and groups to exhibit, a community darkroom, space to hire, performances, regular concert series and art tours. Festivals and community arts projects are held regularly. The popular Multi-cultural Festival and the Festival of Maori Arts are two highly successful annual events. These events have a city-wide focus and are important for cultural understanding and respect for diversity. We also have a monthly Arts Market, and a First Steps Exhibition for beginning artists.
Click here for more detailed information on the Linwood Community Arts Centre and Eastside Gallery.
Established in 1987 during a time of very high unemployment, Te Whare Roimata's pre-employment programme has been especially important for people who have been long-term unemployed, or face considerable barriers to obtaining paid work. The Smith Street Community Gardens and the Labour Group form the basis of this programme. Both projects provide essential training and work opportunities for people from the eastern inner city, and have been successful in enabling young Maori men to be mentored into leadership positions within the two projects.
The Labour Group offers an affordable, household removal and garden maintenance service. The services of the Labour Group are especially used by people on limited incomes. In particular, the household removal service enables people on limited incomes to be shifted at affordable rates. This unique service (no other organisation in Christchurch offers this), is crucial for women and children escaping domestic violence, for people moving into institutional care, or for people forced to move because of a relationship break-up or eviction.
The other work undertaken by the Labour Group involves section clearing and the servicing of 3 long-term contracts for local NGOs.
The Smith Street Community gardens project, established in the early 1990s, produces organically grown herbs and vegetables. Some of these are sold while the rest are either distributed to people on limited incomes or used by workers for their daily cooked lunch or the Thursday community meal. These gardens have become an important neighbourhood-based environmental project and a living model of neighbourhood sustainability. Originally located at Avonside Holy Trinity Church, then at Surrey Street, the Smith Street Community gardens is today housed on Council owned land, behind the Linwood Service Centre. Much emphasis is placed on organic principles, environmental sustainability, waste minimisation and recycling. There is an annual community Harvest Festival which is always well attended.
The Community Gardens has established income-generating niche crops, a community allotment system involving 8 community groups and a whanau growing area which produces food for Te Whare Roimata to support the work of Gold Coin Cafe, workers' lunches, and as a wage-in-kind payment for the people involved.