The Whanau Centre, Mairehau

The Whānau Centre is run by the Neighbourhood Trust and offers free services to support Mairehau and St Albans residents such as food packages, wellness workshops, a drop in centre where people can share their burdens and talk through life choices, job hunting support, English as a Second Language classes and more.

Please note that all visitors to our programmes at The Whānau Centre are strongly advised to wear a mask and also stay at home if you’re not feeling well.

Available for Hire

Would you like to hire The Whānau Centre for your business or group?

Contact Sarah at for information on pricing and availability.

What's happening at The Whānau Centre?

Kai Box

Are you, or is someone you know, in need of some extra kai?

The Neighbourhood Trust have free Kai Boxes available for households in Mairehau, St Albans, Shirley, and Papanui (Christchurch), thanks to Food Secure Communities, MSD and St Albans Baptist Church.

These will be available to pick up from The Whānau Centre at 49 Nancy Ave, Mairehau each Tuesday.

You will receive a confirmation text message after you fill out the form with a time to pick up within 24 hours of collection.

Kai Boxes either consist of fresh fruit and vegetables, or a variety of staple grocery items such as canned goods and cereals.

How to request a Kai Box

Fill out the form or call 027 710 0022 to request a Neighbourhood Trust Kai Box.

If you need kai urgently, please call 027 710 0022 to discuss your options.

Kai Box

Job seeker support

Job Seeker Support

The Neighbourhood Trust offers CV and Cover Letter support for those who are seeking to find work. With many jobs only being advertised online we offer guidance on how to search and apply for jobs.

We support people who have never had a CV or those who would like to brush up their CV.

Contact Sarah via email to book an appointment.

English as a second language lessons

English as a Second Language classes (ESOL)

Neighbourhood Trust is pleased to offer free English (ESOL) lessons to newcomers and migrants with English as a second language, or with low levels of English.

The one-hour long, daytime classes, are taught by a qualified ESOL teacher and are run once a week on Tuesday or Thursday. Lessons cover conversation; grammar; punctuation; reading; and understanding common Kiwi phrases and the context of them in everyday language.

For more information about our free ESOL classes phone (03) 3556522 or email

Rowan Durward

Need to Talk?

Are you feeling stressed or concerned and need to speak to a listening ear?

You’re welcome to speak to our community chaplain, Rowan. She is available to chat Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 9:30am – 12noon. Give her at call – details below.

Contact Rowan for more information – or call 021 123 2530

Parenting Space

If you are a Kiwi Dad, a Mairehau Mum, a soon-to-be parent, or just keen to connect with others on your parenting journey; this is a warm and friendly place for you.

Drop in with a friend or come by yourself.

It doesn’t matter if you are struggling, surviving, succeeding or a mix of all three; we have a space and time for you to meet with others, have a coffee and some kai, share struggles and successes, as well as build connections with others in your community and get support. 

Remember, there are no perfect parents.

We meet every Friday from 9:30am to 12:00pm.

For more information contact Dawn –


Explorer Series

An opportunity to join a small group to do some personal development.

Topics covered include:

  • Who am I?
  • Where am I heading?
  • Grief
  • Understanding trauma
  • Maintaining balance and wellbeing
  • Surviving and flourishing
  • Hope
  • Safe relationships
Wednesdays (during term time) from 12:00pm – 2:00pm.

For more information contact Dawn –

The Whānau Centre parenting resources

We have a range of books, CDs, DVDs and other resources on a wide range of parenting topics at The Whānau Centre that you are welcome to come and read, browse or borrow. Please come and see what is available. We would also welcome any suggestions regarding specific resources or topics that you would be interested in.

Also check out our parenting support page.

The Whānau Centre people

We have a great team of people who love building relationships and serving their community. Please reach out to us if there’s anything we can help you with.

Don Benn

Community Development Worker

Kia ora Whanau, my name is Don Benn and I’m a Community Development Worker with the Neighbourhood Trust.

I’m married to my amazing wife, Heather, and we have three awesome teenagers. We absolutely love being around our kids and helping them face the challenges of growing up. We talk, laugh, and share a lot together as we negotiate the challenges of teenage years and as they move into young adulthood. This has not come about suddenly, but comes on the back of years of working hard to be better parents, learning from mistakes, being prepared to apologise for mistakes made, and encouraging good lines of communication with our kids. I’ve made plenty of mistakes and have had to grapple with doing parenting differently to some of the ways I was brought up with.

Kiwi Dads Chch is a Facebook group designed to help dads in their role as parents. It aims to provide inspiration, encouragement, information, promotion of events and activities, some fun and humour, as well as some personal reflections. From time to time we may also get an event going where dads can get together for a social activity with their kids, or sometimes to help dads in their role as parents. The group is open to mums joining as well where dads are not on Facebook and their spouse or partner can feed information through. You can find the Facebook page by going to @KiwiDadsChch.

As a Community Development Worker, I am available to meet with dads to simply chat, support, and encourage them in their role as a dad. I’ll even shout a coffee. I bring a listening ear and a few years of experience as a parent to understand the challenges and offer any advice and encouragement that may help.

I also co-facilitate a dads’ parenting course, called Game On!  It’s a 6 week course, held one night a week for a couple of hours each night.  It covers the topics of: what I want for my kids; what kind of dad I want to be; communication; discipline; nutrition & the brain; and a wrap up session and celebration at the end.

If you’d like to know more about Game On!, or if you’d like to meet up over a cuppa for a chat, flick me an email, text or call me:

Mobile: 027 956 9202


Postal address: PO Box 36257, Merivale, Christchurch 8146

Physical address: 64 McFaddens Road, St Albans, Christchurch

Dawn Hastings

Community Development Worker

  • Mairehau Project
  • Parenting Support
  • Kai Box

Dawn is a wonderful listener and relationship builder. She is trained as a primary school teacher, has completed counselling training, and has a background working in mental health support, including suicide prevention.

She is available to meet up and talk through whānau planning, and give parenting and life advice.

Contact Dawn:
027 710 0022      

Sarah Tomsett

Operations Manager

Sarah has a passion for supporting people to reach their potential in all areas of life. 

She oversees our Kai Box distribution; supports our community members create CVs, seek employment, and improve interviewing techniques; and is currently establishing a Strength and Balance class for people over 60.

Contact Sarah:
027 710 0042 

Rowan Durward

Rowan Durward

Community Chaplain

Rowan’s purpose as a Community Chaplain is to love, accept and listen to people in the Mairehau and St Albans community who would like support, and also offer guidance from a Christian perspective.

Contact Rowan:

Christine Arnold

ESOL Tutor

Christine is passionate about helping students from other countries to achieve their goals through improving their English skills.

Contact Christine:

Where to find us

Whānau Centre News

Here’s To Our Volunteers!

We celebrate and thank our volunteers - without you we couldn't do what we do!
Read More
Parenting Support Christchurch Mairehau

The Best ‘You’ That You Can Be Workshops

Workshops focused on building our strength, positivity, resilience and hope so that we can inspire and positively impact our whanau and those around us.
Read More
The Whanau Centre

Whānau Snackbox Workshops

‘Bite-sized’ sessions covering skills to assist you to be an effective member of your whanau.
Read More
Neighbourhood Trust Kai Box pantry

New heart for Christchurch’s Mairehau community

Daily Encourager article - A community space, even more needed since the Covid-19 lockdown, is being created in Mairehau.
Read More
The Whanau Centre

NHT in the Nor’West News

Community hub, The Whanau Centre, 'filling a gap' for families in Mairehau.
Read More