Te Whare Mahana: Occupants Stories

Your stories
Your Stories
May 18, 2023

What is Te Whare Mahana?

Te Whare Mahana, run by Nga Kete Matauranga Pounamu Charitable Trust, is a stable, safe and supportive living environment for Rangatahi transitioning out of care to independent living.

Diane supports all young people residing at the Te Whare Mahana. "I have been working with Rangatahi for over 20 years and this is because I believe that our youth deserve every opportunity available to them. I aim to help and guide young people to believe in themselves and achieve their dreams and goals."

What can you expect at the house?

  • Safe accommodation and regular structure
  • Support with goal setting
  • Support to find employment and education, including CV development
  • Skills for shared living
  • Budgeting
  • Attaining a driver's license
  • Booking and attending appointments
  • Skills for independent living including cooking and household management

Te Ao Maori practices and values guide the house culture - setting of Aroha ki te Tangata.

Occupants Stories

Moving into Te Whare Mahana was the best thing I have ever done.

I had a tough upbringing and was exposed to alcohol, drugs, and violence from a young age.

At 15, I was asked if I would like to move into the Te Whare Mahana Supported Youth Living Home and it didn’t take long before I decided it would be a good idea. Prior to the move, I had been couch surfing at friend’s houses.

I moved in late last year and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. We’re not allowed alcohol and drugs in the house, which is a huge change for me. I can open the fridge to find food rather than alcohol and since being here I’ve learnt how to cook, how to manage money and how to budget.

I feel so privileged to be in a healthy home I am comfortable and safe in. I am enjoying having people to talk to who ask how I am and what I have been doing.

Being here has changed my life for the better and it has changed me. I have learnt to appreciate the small things and I appreciate the massive amount of support the staff have given me around almost everything.


I have been in the house almost a year now and I have learnt so much since being here.

I have been in the care of Oranga Tamariki for four years now because, after moving to New Zealand with my grandparents, things went wrong and they kicked me out. My mother also didn’t want to take me in.

I was being looked after by my foster parents for a while but I struggled not having my family around and eventually, following an argument, I was kicked out of their house too.

I was given the option to move into Te Whare Mahana Supported Youth Living and I decided to do it. It was a huge change for me. I had to be responsible and independent and make good choices. But, I was lucky to have the supportive team at Te Whare Mahana guiding me in the right direction and supporting me whenever I needed it.

While being in the house I have learnt to be responsible, to communicate with people better, and I learnt about finances although I am still struggling with that. I have gained so much independence since being here and I feel understood.

Before I come here, I didn’t have a stable life. I had people coming in and out of my life and I was moved around lots of places. But now things feel stable and comfortable. I have a home I actually feel safe and comfortable in.

I am still in school and later I plan to go to university and study family law.


I spent a year living at Te Whare Mahana – the Supported Youth Living Accommodation provided by Nga Kete Matauranga Pounamu Charitable Trust.

I had a great upbringing but when my parents split, I went off the rails.

I had a few problems at school and I was sent to a youth justice residence and later a boys’ home in the North Island. Upon my return to Invercargill I wanted to reconnect with family and I started looking for housing opportunities. Due to being on bail I was unable to go back home so my support worker at Oranga Tamariki referred me to Te Whare Mahana.

I moved into the house not knowing what to expect, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time there.

I completed a construction course while living there. The staff would wake me early and encourage me to get ready to go. I had my own room and I had a curfew.

It was a relaxed environment where I learnt how to navigate a supermarket; I learnt how to cook and how to save money.

During my time in the house I always felt supported and like someone always had my back. I now live in my own home with my partner.

Thank you to Nga Kete for getting my life back on track.

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