Celebrating the Official Opening of Papa Hou

Last month we celebrated the official opening of The Kind Foundation’s new home, Papa Hou. Meaning ‘treasure box’ in te reo Māori, the new name aptly reflects the broad range of functions offered by the facility including a black box theatre, fitness centre, health & wellbeing facilities, youth & community spaces, offices, dance studios, a Pūmanawa preschool, as well as a café and associated hospitality areas.

Funded by the government’s ‘shovel-ready’ initiative, Papa Hou is a three-storey, 4000m2 dedicated facility with a new front door for The Kind Foundation on Rolleston Avenue, across from the Botanic Gardens. It marks a new chapter for The Kind Foundation, signifying its independence from the global YMCA network.

The design concept builds on the idea of the shed, a simple volume that hosts a variety of activities within. The façade materials and geometry echo local historic references and materiality from the surrounding buildings, including shingle roofs, Gothic revival window fenestration and traditional proportions, which are reinterpreted in a contemporary manner.

Papa Hou embodies The Kind Foundation’s mission to serve and empower the community. Its wide range of offerings caters to all ages and backgrounds, while social spaces throughout the building encourage interaction.

Everyone just wants to make the community better and stronger and to make a positive difference”, says Josie Ogden Schroeder, CEO of The Kind Foundation. “It’s great to have a new building to showcase our story and who we are. We are full of gratitude to the New Zealand Government, Architectus and the design team and our construction partner Cook Brothers.

Papa Hou stands as a vibrant new hub for the Ōtautahi Christchurch community, fostering connection across cultures and generations.