YMCA New Zealand

New Zealand – National Council of YMCAs

Date of foundation of the YMCA: 1855
Membership 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, recreation, 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 13 local affiliated associations that operate from 48 different YMCA centres. The National Council meets annually and elects a  6 person National Board, whose members hold office for two years. Voting at National Council is weighted according to the size of each YMCA apart from Constitutional issues where each YMCA no matter how big has  1 votes.

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

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

The national office mandate is to:

– Strengthens the capacity of Regional YMCA Movements by providing training and technical support, sharing good practices, resources, and minimum standards

– Advocates internationally on issues affecting young people in collaboration with, and on behalf of regional YMCAs

– Represents the YMCA at global level with media, donors, United Nations bodies, ecumenical organisations and other civil society partners

– Develops programmes to promote youth leadership

– Provides leadership to the YMCA Movement on thematic and mission issues

– Coordinates YMCA emergency response efforts

– Facilitates communications within the world Movement through publications and multimedia

Address – National Office

YMCA New Zealand
PO Box 50627

Level 2, BNZ Tower
14 Hartham Place North
Porirua 5022

Ph: + 64 4 568 9622
Email: national@ymca.org.nz
NGS, Chris Knol

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