Clayton Riddle, Lead Pastor at Northpoint Baptist Church, New Plymouth, shares the joyful outcome of partnering with Kāinga Ora Homes and Communities.

It’s always exciting when an unexpected opportunity comes. Northpoint Baptist is situated in the suburb of Bell Block, New Plymouth. Bell Block has its fair share of challenges. Kāinga Ora reached out to us to see if we could support an event they were planning for a local street. They were planning a bin day, where they bring in half a dozen skip bins and do a clean up in the street. This street has several Government houses in it. The invite to us was to see if we could come in and run some kids’ activities in the street from 2:30-4:30 pm as the kids wander home from school. For us, it was a no-brainer, and we were in. After two false starts due to weather, we finally ended up with a crew of half a dozen people cooking a bbq, playing street soccer, chalk-drawing, and chatting with whānau and tamariki. 

I don’t know how many snags we went through, but there was about half an hour when we struggled to keep up with demand. Some of the kids were back three or four times for another one. I am sure the kids would have played until dark if we had let them. I think Nate, our youth pastor, was grateful that we were packing up the cones after an hour and a half of street soccer. 

All I did was cook the BBQ and hand out the sausages, but as we were packing up and getting ready to leave, we were getting hugs from the children, who were very keen for us to return. As I reflect on that opportunity, it was a joy and blessing to partner and share in a community event that worked for the common good.  

The conversation with Kāinga Ora continues, and they seem pleased to partner with us in serving the community. We are happy to partner with them and aim to do another BBQ and games, with Kāinga Ora supplying the food. It will be exciting to see where this leads. We are already talking to some of the families in the street to see if they want to be part of helping on the day so we can empower, engage and encourage this community. 

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