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Meet the family: Jenna Harris, Wellington General Manager

‘Meet the family’ is a new series where we talk to Zeal staff all around the country to find out what makes them tick. Stay tuned for more coming soon!

Jenna (pictured, center) first came to Zeal on a tour, and loved it so much she decided to work for us. Relocating from Australia, she discovered New Zealand was superior in every way and now never wants to leave. We had a yarn with her about hot sauce, music and youth work – check it out below!

How did you first get involved with Zeal?

Jenna: I came over with a heavy metal band to tour New Zealand. The first venue the band played was Zeal in West Auckland and I was blown away at how incredible the venue was, I couldn’t believe it was for young people!

What does your typical day at Zeal look like?

Jenna:  A typical day almost doesn’t exist for me, but I do regularly correspond with other agencies about collaboration, ideas and meetings. Three afternoons a week, I get to hang out after school with our Wellington young people, and we have our Girls Group on a Tuesday. The most important part of my job and my favourite part is supporting my team -making sure they have what they need and getting to plan alongside them is a privilege.


What do you do in your spare time?

Jenna: I eat (a lot) and it’s my favourite thing! I particularly love buffalo wings, anything green, and anything drenched in hot sauce.

What’s your favourite thing about your new space is Wellington?

Jenna: The location is amazing, stepping out and being in the centre of the CBD is awesome.

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

Jenna: Taking young people on road trips around the North Island, taking people to Ngatiawa river monastery, and staff hui’s are always a highlight for me.

What’s some advice you would pass on to someone wanting to work with youth?

  • Know your ‘why.’
  • Learn to see the potential in young people instead of focusing on the problem. 
  • If you want a 9-5 job, this isn’t for you, but living a life in the service of others is the most fulfilling thing you will ever do.

What are some places anyone visiting Wellington should check out?

Jenna: Stories Cafe (of course) Five Boroughs, Pickle + Pie, Comes & Goes cafe. Food is all that matters.

What bands are you listening to lately?

Jenna: Cursed Earth, Advent – Pain & Suffering, Kia Kaha – Link.

Read more from Welly:

Be the change you wish to see. Get equally frustrated and inspired by the many systems letting young people down. Be willing to fight 24 hours of the day, 365 days of the year for those who feel unheard, unloved and ignored.

Headed up by visual arts whizz Pete Morris, our new project will provide pathways to education, work experience and first time employment in the design and branding industry.