Journey church has been involved with youth work in the Waitomo area, through being one of the founding members of the Waitomo Youth Advisory Group. This was a group chaired by local Mayor, Brian Hanna, and included Secondary School Principals from Te Kuiti High School and Piopio College, as well as local Police, and Waitomo Social Sector Trials Manager, Hilary Karaitiana.

This group came into existence through a Governmental directive in response to its launch of the Youth Social Sector Trials. The trials, was an initiative that had four main goals: 1, Reduce youth offending, 2, Reduce Truancy, 3, Reduce Youth involvement in drugs and alcohol, 4, Create pathways for youth training, education and employment.

As the trials grew, a youth hub was formed in King Street East, and became commonly known as, ‘Number Twelve Youth Hub’. This became the gateway and main point of contact for many of our youth in the Waitomo District. A number of key Government funders including the Ministry of Social Development, Te Puni Kokiri, Youth Justice and the Te Punanga Haumaru Fund established contracts, to help reach the trials goals, and objectives, as set out by the Government. Due to its efficient systems, flexibility and ability to adapt and act quickly, Journey church became the primary ‘fund holder’ of those contracts. The contracts were then delivered in collaboration with the Number Twelve Youth Hub.

At the end of 2016, the Government wound up all of the Youth Social Sector Trials throughout the remaining six sites in New Zealand, which included Waitomo District. Since then, Journey Church in partnership with Number Twelve Youth Hub, and Karaitiana Community Solutions, have begun the process of transitioning to a community led model, oy youth service delivery. Our local Mayor, Brian Hanna continues to chair the advisory meetings when they occur, and is a keen advocate for the Youth Hub to continue, and has aided in the securing of funding for the very effective Youth Driver Licensing Initiative.

To date, the Youth Hub and Journey Church have still managed to maintain the support of some important Government agencies, including the Ministry of Social Development, the Ministry of Vulnerable Children Oranga Tamariki, Youth Justice, and several philanthropic funders. The future looks promising, and the team is highly motivated to continually seek to improve its services and delivery of programs, and to build upon nearly six years of effective Youth Development programs.