History of Ranui Community Centre.
In 1974 a small group of like-minded people formed a committee and took on the task of getting the Ranui Community Centre up and running. They did fundraising, existed as a meeting place and held a few classes. These people had a strong sense of ownership of their small community centre. The Ranui Community Centre became an Incorporated Society in 1978 and thereafter became bound by the legal structures associated with all societies.
In 1988 as part of its strategic plan, the Waitakere City Council took on the central control of the Ranui Community Centre. It was at this point that the management committee were instructed to employ a coordinator, the wages for which would be funded through Council’s Annual Plan. The coordinator would be accountable to the Committee.
In 1994 the original Centre at 4 Ranui Station Rd, Ranui was given over to the Cook Island Community. A much larger relocated building -the old Post Office building from Te Atatu South was placed on a new, more easily accessible site at 474 Swanson Rd, Ranui.
In 2000 a new library was added onto the Community Centre and for about 5 years they shared some of the space, but as the library grew this space was given over entirely to the Library. The Community Centre was left with very cramped, old and not fit for purpose premises. During this time Waitakere City Council was superseded by the new Auckland Council. So Auckland Council now owns the building and has a small contract with the Society to provide services to the community.
It had become apparent over the years that the Centre costs more and more to run on less and less funding so the idea of a café was born. So in 2008 we opened a little café in our Centre’s kitchen to see how popular the idea was – we called this café The Tea Tree. It was very successful!!
In October 2014 the new beautiful Ranui Library was opened on the corner of Armada Drive and Swanson Road leaving the space they vacated to the Ranui Community Centre for their use. Unfortunately the centre had outgrown its space and the building as a whole was no longer fit for purpose. So as a joint initiative with Auckland Council and The Ranui Community Centre we set about remodelling the Centre. The Society raised nearly $300,000 towards the cost of this refurbishment the rest coming from Auckland Council – total cost around $700,000.
So in September 2015 we closed the Centre and started a deconstruction e.g. saving all the old building materials to be reused and recycled. We saved 6.8 tonnes of building waste from going to landfill and managed to build most of our café with recycled materials from the building!
In February 2016 we reopened and renamed the café “Café Korero”, which is now a fully-fledged café with 4 staff including chef and barista – open 7 days a week and employing local folk. It has turned out to be a resounding success and in time it will provide some extra and much needed income to the Centre.
What does the future hold?? We are hoping to create a new role within the community – a Sustainability Coordinator who will educate and inform locals and regional communities about how to be more sustainable – working towards the Council’s goal of Zero Waste by 2040. As part of this we hope to erect a Community Shed/Maker space to sit alongside the Community Gardens in Marinich Drive. In time we think that Ranui will gain a reputation for the place to go to learn about sustainability and see it in action.