Wesley Rātā VillageProjects
When Wesley made the hard decision to stop providing residential aged care at Wesleyhaven resthome and hospital in August 2017, we committed to keep using the resource in another way to contribute to community.
In the months after closing Wesleyhaven we carried out a whole range of community conversations about what to do next. We combined what the community told us with our mission and skills to develop a vision for the village.
Across the generations, everyone contributing towards a good life.
Wesley Rātā Village is a place to reweave community and to support wellbeing and resilience. It is a home to enjoy living in and a place to visit for inspiration and strengthening connections. It’s a place for all generations, with a special position for seniors/kaumātua. Gifted to Wesley 70 years ago to support vulnerable seniors/kaumātua in the Hutt Valley, our 60 hectares of awa (rivers), ngahere (bush), māra (gardens), valleys, homes, and rooms are a significant community asset.
Wesley Community Action is privileged to be the current stewards of this site and the holders of the new vision. Ngā mihi ki te mana whenua, ko Te Atiawa. The Village sits at the headwaters of the Waiwhetu awa and is mostly regenerating native bush. The village is home to about 80 people who in 55 homes, alongside a range of other buildings and venues that are used for a range of community activities.
The reweaving of community at Wesley Rātā Village involves many strands all contributing to the overarching vision, and all shaped by the community of Naenae.
A village works when its community is free to lead all sorts of different change, and to contribute to each others lives.
Our lovely Village has continued to thrive with a growing number of community-led activities and a very stable group of around 80 residents.
The sorts of activities you will find on any given day at the village include:
- Art classes where Lower Hutt locals come together to learn, teach and get creative together, or artists onsite making work.
- Residents Social Committee hui and events like indoor bowls.
- Play group or Babies Place course or an antenatal class.
- Ageing Well gathering where seniors/kaumātua get together to support each other in community as they age.
- Wider community gatherings like our monthly community lunch or the disability advocacy group Wheels and Canes.
- Tree plantings and pest trapping events.
- Groups hiring one of our venues to host things like Social drama classes, church services, or trainings
- A koha cafe or a barista training course for local rangatahi run by Trade School Industries.
- Groups out in the community veggie garden or cooking together to make kai.
- Conversations in the sunshine between residents in the beautiful gardens.
The only reason that all of this can happen is because of the amazing community that has formed in and around the Village. The residents who have made their homes at the Village are the heart and soul of what happens here, welcoming and supporting each other and being up for doing things together in a new way. Our Village Guiding Group who meet once a month to help share community connections and contribute to the village. Hutt City Council and our other funders who make sure we can keep doing this mahi. And all the locals and Hutt organisations that tautoko our mahi and support us to do more.
We are learning a lot about community innovation through what we are seeing and hearing and feeling at the Village.
We are keen to kōrero with others who are trying to build intentional communities.
Each year we collect up our impact and what we have learnt into a results report for others to be able to learn alongside us.