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Zeal Wellington enters new phase as youth centre closes due to quake risk

The Zeal Wellington youth centre has closed due to concern over the building’s earthquake risk, with the organisation now operating through citywide pop-ups. 

Upon opening in 2010, Zeal’s facility at 103 Ghuznee St was 80% of the national building standard. A recent assessment found it to be 30% to code.

Zeal’s Board of Trustees deemed that the building is no longer to a high enough standard to ensure the safety of its staff and young people.

“Our Ghuznee St facility has been a home and hub for Wellington young people and their creativity for seven years,” says Zeal Wellington Manager, James Harris. “Although staff and young people are saddened to leave, this provides the opportunity to continue to innovate in our development of Wellington’s young people.”

The Ghuznee St building was Zeal’s third facility in a 17-year history of delivering youth development programmes in central Wellington. It provided a place of acceptance and belonging to thousands of Wellington young people through events, creative programmes and the afternoon hangs community.

Zeal’s service to young people was recognised with a Supreme Award at the 2014 Wellington Airport Regional Community Awards. A nationwide organisation, Zeal was also a Community Of The Year Finalist in 2016.

Until a new space is secured, Zeal will continue to deliver safe spaces, events and creative programmes for young people in Wellington through a pop-up model. Afternoon hangs has moved to Waitangi Skatepark and the Barista Training Pathway is being held at Stories Espresso Bar, a Zeal social enterprise birthed in 2015.

People connected to Zeal Wellington are encouraged to share their memories of the Ghuznee St facility on social media through the hashtag #ZealMemories.

Contributions to the ongoing work of Zeal Wellington can me made at zeal.nz/donate.