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Meet the family: Devon Welch, Kāpiti Event Manager

Devon is an allrounder at Zeal’s newest centre in Kāpiti – musician, sound tech, event manager, and pretty handy with a hammer. We chatted to him about what’s been going on in their first few months – read more below!

How did you first get involved with Zeal?

Devon: When Zeal announced themselves in Kāpiti, someone from Nga Kakano (Iwi youth group) asked if i wanted to play a song as part of the proceedings.

I stuck around the gathering and listened to what Zeal were planning to do here in our community. I was astounded by the vision, and approached the general manager and said “if Zeal’s going to do half the things they just said, I’m in!”


It all started with them getting me to play more gigs with them, then they realised that I was also a live sound engineer. I was helping heaps with Community outings they had engaged with, and helped around the building pre-build.

Then all of a sudden, they were asking me to teach classes of Live Sound. We worked on the music project together and it then became my dream project!

What does your typical day at Zeal look like?

Devon: Being a full-time musician, being a Event Manager is an amazing dream role come true. I spend my time communicating with other organisations and individuals, and helping young people that have the courage to stand up and say they want to do an event!

In amongst all of that, I’m also another set of eyes, ears, and hands, driven by a brain, which helps when it comes to running a successful team. I can usually be found doing stuff that just needs to be done!

I spend a lot of time also looking after the live sound aspect of Zeal Kāpiti. We have an array of young people that have now taken a lot of this into their own hands, and now I’m more of an overseer and guide for them which is amazing!

What are some epic moments you’ve had during your time at Zeal so far?

Devon: So many!
One massive one for me was when i realised the influence i was actually having on some of the youth in Kāpiti. One person sat in on one of my classes and said “I learned more here then I did in a whole week of school.” That was a pretty epic feeling, humbling too.

I’ve watched some young people grow into themselves in such a spectacular way. The emphasis on music has opened up a lot of dialogue, and some of the things I hear them discussing or talking about for the future is just awe-inspiring.

I used to be on the Youth Council back in college, and I remember our discussions over a ‘youth centre / events space.’ I had a full circle moment when I realised that this is what we were talking about all those years ago, and here I am helping drive the wheels of its success! So empowering and fulfilling!

What’s some advice you would pass on to someone wanting to get a job in the youth work industry?

Devon: You’d have to ask our youth workers, haha. I don’t pretend to be a youth worker, but I more or less naturally fell into that role too. With my outlook on life, and re-framing language and perception being one of the things I focus on for myself, it flows out into my students and team ethics.

Service to others is one of the most noblest causes that one can ever undertake. The energy of today’s youth is an amazing thing. You will learn so much about a large array of people. The connections and experiences to follow can be some of the realest, down to earth moments you may experience here. Helping further that for our young people is one of the most rewarding and heart warming endeavours I’ve had so far.

What do you do in your spare time?

Devon: My spare time is spent working relentlessly on my music.
Also, I’m currently studying Money Management at Te Wananga O Aotearoa in Wellington.
I’m self taught on drums, guitar, and bass, whilst continuing that study is more so a life long journey.

I teach bass, guitar, drums, and singing from home as well as gigging all around the country! I love my life! 

How is everything going in the new Kāpiti centre?

Devon: It’s going off! Between our new venue and our accrued team of young people running it, afterschool hangs, Phat Chats, Girls Group, Arts Group and many more, there’s new faces every single week.
Zeal Kāpiti has only just begun!

What are you looking forward to that’s coming up at Zeal?

Devon: I’m gonna be teaching Event Management Programmes pretty soon, which is right up my alley. We’ve got more and more young musicians coming through, who I get to work with also. So much fun!

We also have Musicians Lounge going on – this event founded by one of our young people is an experience I as a young musician would have thrived off!

Overall, my experience over the last 3 years has been mind blowing and an absolute adventure. The team at Zeal Kāpiti are some of the most loving, heart centred humans I’ve ever had the pleasure to call my family! So much more coming through the mix – stay tuned!!!

Read more from Zeal:

“I’m humbled at the opportunity to be part of a legacy of building authentic, meaningful connections with young people through creativity.”

The purpose-built youth development centre features a performance space, rehearsal rooms, creative space and design suite. The centre was gifted the name Te Roopu Ngākaunui Ki Kāpiti, meaning “The group with the big heart”, by Council kaumātua koro Don Te Maipi.