YMCA New Zealand

New Zealand – National Council of YMCAs

Date of foundation of the YMCA: 1855Membership Status: Full Member
Full member of the World Alliance of YMCAs since: 1886

Brief YMCA History

The first YMCA was founded in Auckland in 1855; its work expanded rapidly. At Dunedin, work started in 1861 with Bible study and prayer groups. Later the activities included public evangelistic services. The Christchurch association was founded in 1862 as a group which met for religious fellowship, prayer and Bible study, but later included educational classes, athletics and lectures in its activities. A fourth association was established in Taranaki in 1881.

From the beginning these associations worked closely with the YMCAs in Australia. A first joint conference was held in Sydney in 1877; at the second joint conference in Melbourne in 1880 Australia and New Zealand adopted the Paris Basis. In 1886, the National Council of the YMCAs of Australia and New Zealand was formed; this body was affiliated to the World Alliance. This Council continued to supervise the affairs of both countries until 1916 when New Zealand withdrew from the joint Council and formed its own national body.

YMCA programmes have included work with children and young people, recrea-tion, sports, service clubs, camping, and community work. Mobile gymnasiums and trucks enabled the YMCA to extend physical education and recreational facilities to new housing areas. Family nights have been regular features of many YMCAs, and some associations had women’s auxiliary groups. In 1966 the National Council commenced the first Training Centre for full-time youth workers to be established in New Zealand.

The YMCA Today
The National Council of YMCAs of New Zealand consists of 17 local affiliated associations that operate from 48 different YMCA centres. The National Council meets annually and elects a 9 person National Board, whose members hold office for two years. Voting at National Council is weighted according to the size of each YMCA part from Constitutional issues where each YMCA no matter how big has 2 votes.

The National Council operates a small National office, which is about 75% funded by local associations paying a National version of ‘Fair Share’.

The National council has approved a Five year Strategic plan which operates at the National level and which all local Associations are asked to implement locally. A Memorandum of Agreement between the National Council and local associations commits local associations to meet certain standards and to regularly supply the National Council with specified information. This is designed to ensure that all local associations are managed effectively. A current emphasis at the National Council is to work on developing the YMCA vision so that all local associations understand and are fully committed to working together to implement the YMCA mission and values. The National Council has recently adopted the 4 core values of Caring, Respect, Honesty, and Responsibility, and local associations are being encouraged to add to this National list. The National Council has recently adopted a common National YMCA logo and national visual standards that all associations are asked to follow.

Mission Statement

The New Zealand YMCA has worked hard over the last few years to develop a series of mission and vision statements. The following are the key statements.

Mission: The YMCA is a community organisation based on Christian principles, which aims to enable individuals and families to develop physically, mentally and spiritually and enjoy a healthy quality of life.

Statement of Purpose:
To encourage the search for deeper understanding and application of Christian values in everyday life.

To promote the recognition of each individual and encourage the development of the ‘whole person’ – body, mind, and spirit.

To develop communities in which people care for and support each other and work together in searching for justice, freedom and peace.

Themes and Values:
The current National YMCA Strategic Plan is driven by seven key themes. The YMCA is working to include these themes in all our activities. The themes are:

1. Children and youth

2. Family

3. Community
These translates into the vision statement that ‘We build strong kids, strong families, strong communities’

4. Values: Fostering the Nationally adopted four core YMCA values
i. Caring
ii. Respect
iii. Honesty
iv. Responsibility

5. Personal development: Fostering holistic personal development (body, mind, and spirit).

6. Empowerment: Helping people see they can take control over their own lives and make a difference.

7. Social Responsibility: Encouraging the YMCA to be an organisation that responds to social issues and concerns, and fosters social justice.

Main Programmes

Each YMCA decides which programmes they should operate. There is considerable variety throughout the country although the National Council has developed the following National programmes, all of which have National co-ordinators, a manual and agreed standards. The YMCA hopes that developing National programmes will help develop our identity as a National movement.

National programmes are:

Ys Gym:
A progressive gymnastics programme based on YMCA values and encouraging parent/child interaction.

Ys Basketball:
A progressive introduction to basketball with rules adapted to various ages.
Get and Edge: A 3-year youth leadership programmes that encourages YMCA leaders to develop a community service ethic and to explore YMCA values.

Be a Better Babysitter:
A course targeted at teenagers teaching them how to look after children and ensure they are safe.

Street Talk:
A road safety Programme the Government has contracted the YMCA to run. It uses group facilitation to help young drivers develop the values and attitudes necessary for road safety.

The following are the main programmes areas:

Indoor Recreation
The YMCA operates 20 Indoor recreation facilities (stadiums or children’s gyms) offering a wide range of programmes. Many other programmes eg after school and holiday programmes are run from these centres.

Outdoor Camps
The YMCA operates 6 YMCA camps. Three operate all year round with full time staff. Many other YMCAs run summer camping programmes from camps owned by other organisations.

Conservation Corps
The YMCA runs 14 programmes that involve young people who have left school in conservation projects and outdoor learning experiences. Each programme runs 6 months.

Health and Fitness
The YMCA operates 14 Centres that attract a wide cross section of the community. A National Code of Practice is being developed

The National YMCA is registered as a Government recognised training establishment and is accredited to offer a range of qualifications. Many YMCAs run life skill and vocational programmes for unemployed young people, and some operate alternative programmes for young people not able to fit into the normal school system. Some operate licensed Childcare services.

Business Training:
4 YMCAs operates small business programmes for the long-term unemployed. 2 YMCAs have programmes for members of disadvantaged groups wanting to expand their own businesses or keep up to date with developments.

Emphasis and goals for the next quadriennum

Programme plans are to continue to develop all the major programme areas outlines in section 5, with an increasing attention paid to maintaining high quality standards and ensuring that YMCA values and mission are an integral part of all programmes.

The current National strategic Plan (2000-2005) has the following emphasis:

1. Development:
Working to ensure the YMCA implements its mission and values and develop a vision for the future that is relevant to the 21st century.

2. Growth:
Extending the YMCA into new geographical areas and developing new programmes that help the YMCA meet the needs of more people. Developing more National programmes is a particular priority of this plan.

3. Maintenance:
Maintaining the YMCA mission and values and ensuring all programmes and standards operate to high professional and quality delivery standards.

4. Capacity building:
Ensuring all local Associations operate in a financially viable way and that they have the skills staff and volunteers necessary to take their associations forward.

5. Profile:
Raising the profile of the YMCA in the community and improving our marketing and promotions strategies. Promoting a common YMCA logo and visual standards

Address – National Office

YMCA New Zealand
PO Box 39274
Wellington Mail Centre

Ph: + 64 4 568 9622
Fax: + 64 4 568 9623
Email: national@ymca.org.nz
Website: www.ymca.org.nz


YMCA New Zealand
YMCA Auckland
YMCA Christchurch 
YMCA Gisborne
YMCA Greater Welington
YMCA of Hawkes Bay in Hastings
YMCA Invercargill  
YMCA Nelson
YMCA Palmerston North
YMCA Tauranga
YMCA Wanganui