A Place for Puketāpapa – St John’s Church & Community Centre

Front entrance of the new St John's Church and Community Centre

A fast-growing area that has become the first home for generations of immigrants, Puketāpapa Mt Roskill is a community of youth and diversity. It also has an urgent need for facilities to serve the community. Responding to the community’s needs has long been an important part of St John’s work.

With seismic standards requiring a rebuild of its ageing and much- extended Mt Albert Road church and community hall, St John’s is embarking on a building project that will radically improve the facilities available to the people of Puketāpapa. We’re excited to share our plans and invite your support so St John’s can continue to serve Puketāpapa in the decades to come.

A History in Puketāpapa

St John's Church in 1957

St John’s started life in 1946 as a local community church plant from Balmoral Presbyterian Church in the working-class area of Puketāpapa Mt Roskill. A prefab hall was built as a church, with the existing community hall added between 1948 and 1951 (see photo).

Over the years multiple additions and the purchase of neighbouring properties expanded the complex. In the 2000’s the current lounge, kitchen, training rooms and office were added.

Limited space has stopped St John’s from providing more for the community. It’s no surprise, then, that the unavoidable need to upgrade its buildings to comply with modern seismic requirements comes with a silver lining. The church sees the rebuild as an opportunity to do more for the community around it.

A Project with Purpose and Vision

Rev Dr Colin Marshall explains a new community facility in Puketāpapa is urgently needed.

Colin Marshall has been the Minister at St John’s for 25 years. Colin has seen Puketāpapa grow rapidly over that time, and the community’s needs grow with the population. “We’ve been the arrival suburb for a large number of migrants” he says, “and that has given us a cultural diversity matched by very few other places in New Zealand. We also have a high proportion of young people and, sadly, large social welfare needs.”

Community facilities are desperately short in the area. Mt Roskill’s main community spaces – the Memorial Hall and the Fickling Centre – are often booked out months ahead, and the housing boom in Puketāpapa is only adding to the pressure. “St John’s is in a unique position to respond to that demand,” says Colin. “We have relationships with community groups that in many cases go back more than 20 years, and we understand how remarkably effective those groups can be in the community.

What better than to turn our site, right in the heart of Puketāpapa, into a multi-functional community facility that gives those groups the room they need?”

Rev. Dr. Colin Marshall

Planning for Versatility

The concept for the new facility sets aside a dedicated church space that will be permanently set up and office spaces set aside for church business. This comprises approximately 20% of the whole facility. The remaining 80% of the facility’s space will be available for the community. The goals include flexibility, maximising the range of potential uses and keeping costs to the community for use of the facility at an affordable level.

Ground floor plan
Top level floor plan

The floor plans include space for:

  • A dedicated Church seating 165 people.
  • A Community Auditorium that will seat 275 – this will be a large flexible multi-use space that can be used for a variety of events and will lend itself to being used as a cafeteria when not set up for events. It will have stunning north facing views towards the city.
  • A large, multi-functional Community Lounge with a commercial-style kitchen. This will also have access to the grassed back section and children’s play area that can double as a carpark for larger events.
  • A number of smaller meeting rooms and offices.

Sustainability will be at the centre of the new facility’s design. St John’s has opted for a Sprung Structure which is relatively new to New Zealand but well proven overseas, where it has been used in more than 12,000 buildings. Sprung Structures can be erected quickly, are cost efficient and have outstanding earthquake and wind strength ratings. Those last two qualities, plus the church’s elevated position on Mt Albert Road, mean the new location will be ideally suited for use as a Community Emergency Hub in times of disaster. In these situations, the building will be largely self-sufficient; the design provides for solar panels, on-site water storage and backup generators.

A Glimpse of the Future

Your Support with Fundraising

The complete cost of the project is $6.5 million. The church has already committed $1.8 million to the project so far, which covers most of the church build.

We now have to raise the balance of $4.7 million, which our amazing Fundraising Team is working diligently to raise. We are looking for people, groups and organizations that will support this project for our community. Financial gifts and assistance, and committed pledges are most appreciated.

If you would like someone from the Fundraising Team to contact you about making a gift or answering your questions, please email us at vision@stjohns.org.nz or call Colin (the Minister) on 021750362, who will put you in contact with the Fundraising Team. We are happy to answer any questions over email, a phone call or an in-person meeting.

Online donations will soon be available. In the meantime, if you want to donate you can do so from your bank to:
Account name: St John’s Presbyterian Church (Mt Roskill)
Account number: 12-3033-0617107-50
Please email your contact details (name, email, phone, address) to vision@stjohns.org.nz if you would like a donation tax receipt sent to you.

“The St John’s Community has been an invaluable part of Mt Roskill. They actively supported FSIANZ, by making their facilities available for our community meetings and functions. There is a lack of space in Puketāpapa and often venues are booked at the same time as we would want them. I strongly believe that the new community building will be a pivotal provider of activities that support the community in a meaningful and practical manner in the coming years.”

Dr Reginald Samuel, President, Federation of South Indian Associations New Zealand Inc (FSIANZ)
%d bloggers like this: