Visionwest Community Trust recently celebrated 30 years of community service with a VIP morning tea and book launch, held in the Glen Eden Baptist Church (GEBC) café. Taking over a year to put together, Building Hope Together is a picture‑rich historical record of the first three decades of Visionwest. 

The organisation began life as The Friendship Centre Trust after a group from GEBC decided they wanted to reach out, in a practical way, to their wider community. The local council gave them permission to renovate and utilise the disused local railway station as a drop-in centre for the agreed rent of one dollar per year.

Thirty years on, the trust has multiple services, over 1,700 employees, and an annual income of around $75 million. More importantly, the lives of thousands of whānau are touched each year and a multitude of lives have been positively transformed.

The book launch, having been postponed twice because of COVID-19 restrictions, was finally held on 18th November. Limited to 60 people, the guest list included local dignitaries including MP Carmel Sepuloni and former MP Paula Bennett. Time was also taken to honour those who had journeyed with the trust since it began, many as long‑term volunteers.

Murray Cottle was pastor of GEBC in the early days of the trust and commented, “It’s amazing to see what the trust has become. It’s a testament to what can happen when a permission‑giving congregation launches into a vision with perseverance and a willingness to take a few risks.”

The event also included the launch of a new brand for the trust. No longer known as VisionWest Community Trust, it will be Visionwest, Waka Whakakitenga. The new brand logo is a koru containing symbols representative of the values, services and whānau that make up Visionwest.

CEO Lisa Woolley explains, “The trust became known as VisionWest Community Trust in 2010. A lot has changed since then. We wanted a brand that would reflect our multiple services, our move into other regions throughout New Zealand, and our intentional focus on the delivery of services within a kaupapa Māori framework.”