Hutt at Heart
A child playing with stones during the Pasifika Poly Playgroup at Koraunui Stokes Valley Community Hub
A child playing during the Pasifika Poly Playgroup at Koraunui Stokes Valley Community Hub

Koraunui Stokes Valley aims high

The Koraunui Stokes Valley Community Hub was opened by Hutt City Council just over a year ago on Friday 27 October, 2017. Since opening it has certainly made its mark on the community, becoming known as a safe and healthy environment for children and adults alike. 

Vini Iosua dreams big – she wants to make Koraunui Stokes Valley Community Hub a ‘Centre of Cultural Excellence’.

From 10am until midday on Wednesdays Vini, one of the hub’s Kaitiaki, sets up for the Pasifika Poly Playgroup. Her goal when she started it was to teach Pasifika culture to local babies and toddlers, and their parents. Fast forward a few months and the same room is filled with people of all ages and all nationalities coming together to learn and share a culture.

“I had a mother bring her nine month old son to the playgroup a few weeks ago to learn Samoan songs and rhymes she could teach him. She had lost touch a bit with her Samoan heritage and language. It’s been so exciting reaching out to the Auckland Library to ask for some of their amazing Samoan song and rhyme collection to also teach her,” she says.

“Something I never dreamed would happen though is that older members of our Stokes Valley Pasifika community are now attending the playgroup. They come regularly and find it’s a fantastic way to pass on some of their culture. I also think it’s a way for them to just interact with their culture and keep in touch with it, which they may not get to do very often.”

The mission of the Koraunui Stokes Valley Hub is to be a safe and healthy environment for everyone in the community to enjoy. It includes a number of multi-use spaces which are put to good use for a range of activities including Thai boxing, dance, exercise, kapa haka, table tennis and art classes.

A number of services are offered through the hub including Plunket, Citizens Advice Bureau, Justice of the Peace, Housing New Zealand and Community Law, while the team at the hub also provide all sorts of support, from helping people write CVs and apply for jobs to helping them access computers

Over the next few months ‘Koraunui stories’ will be appearing on Hutt at Heart, showcasing some of the awesome initiatives being implemented there. Make sure you keep an eye out for them!

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