Bruce Plested officially opened InZone’s redeveloped headquarters and kāinga at 99 Owens Road on Sunday 31 July 2022, almost three years to the day since mana whenua Ngāti Whātua Ōrakei blessed the site and we broke ground.
This multi million dollar project included demolishing an outdated building and replacing it with a purpose-built 38-bed hostel incorporating a new commercial kitchen to service both our girls’ and boys’ kāinga, dining and lounge facilities as well as refurbishing other existing dorms and office spaces. To ensure our boys could remain onsite throughout the project, it was completed in two stages; first, the new build followed by the refurbishment. Our capacity on our Owens Road site has increased to 60 boys. This project has ensured that InZone has a sustainable future and our boys will have a kāinga that they can be proud to call home. We are grateful to Dominion Construction for their fantastic work in the build. Director Kerin Russell-Smith has referred to the project as the jewel in the Dominion crown. She spoke light-heartedly but it truly feels like that to us!
A beautiful ceremony marked this momentous occasion, incorporating our Māori and Pasifika tikanga as InZone celebrated the completion of the multi-million-dollar project, funded by our generous benefactor.
InZone and Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei kaumatua Ōtene Reweti welcomed manuhiri onsite following a moving haka pōwhiri and karanga from InZone rangatahi. InZone Chair Jim Mather opened the ceremony, acknowledging InZone funders and speaking to both the importance of the project and the mahi undertaken by InZone. With the help of rangatahi, gifts were presented to Bruce and to InZone’s Property Committee members who facilitated the project as a token of appreciation. James Mace led the Property Committee and was often seen on site ensuring it was going to plan. His tireless efforts behind the scenes were crucial to our success and we are so thankful for his mahi.
InZone rangatahi sung beautiful waiata in both Te Reo Māori and a medley of Pasifika languages throughout the ceremony. The waiata and haka visibly came from the heart as rangatahi demonstrated deep respect and gratitude for the koha they had received. InZone was honoured to be gifted a tapa cloth from Pasifika whānau as a token of appreciation for the mahi of our kaupapa. This cloth is being hung in the kāinga.
Bruce addressed the rangatahi, speaking about the importance of education. His passion for equitable access to education is the motivation behind his long support of InZone over the years. Bruce acknowledged Alan Duff’s attendance, asking our rangatahi if they had been Duffy kids partaking in Duff’s Books in Homes programme. Rangatahi responded with a moving haka to Bruce in gratitude.
Aymon Iese, Year 13, spoke on behalf of InZone rangatahi and about their joy of their new facilities. Aymon began his journey with InZone and Auckland Grammar School in 2018 and has witnessed the transformation of the kāinga.
Mairehau Cleave, mother to Raukura (alumni) Bella and Taimarino, and current rangatahi Wiremu, spoke of the impact that InZone has had on the lives of her tamariki and on the others that have benefited from the kaupapa. Mairehau and her whānau live on Aotea (Great Barrier Island) where there is no secondary school option and InZone has enabled all three of her children to receive a top-quality education and stood them in good stead for the next stages of their lives
InZone would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to Bruce Plested and Ngāti Whātua Ōrakei for their generous support of InZone Education Foundation and the mahi that we undertake for the benefit of our Māori and Pasifika rangatahi and whānau.
Special acknowledgement to our partners Auckland Grammar School and Epsom Girls Grammar School who work closely with us to ensure our rangatahi achieve top educational outcomes. We thank our funders for their ongoing support of our kaupapa; Foundation North, Heartland Bank, KiwiHarvest, Lotteries Board, SkyCity Community Trust, Joyce Fisher Charitable Trust, Maurice Paykel Charitable Trust, Manchester Trust and UBS. We are grateful to our neighbours and community members who attended and supported us with this milestone.