An organisation focused on youth development has opened an eye-catching new centre in Paraparaumu.

The Zeal Youth Development Centre, in Rimu Rd, was officially opened on Thursday.

People are invited to have a look through the centre on Saturday from 12 noon to 4pm.

Zeal is an organisation whose goal is to provide young people aged 13 to 18 with the opportunity to discover, express and develop their unique creativity.


The ground floor of the youth centre comprises a large performance space, a college after-school space, and a large creative space for art-based projects.

The first floor comprises two acoustically lined rehearsal rooms, two office spaces and a design room.

Hannah Neal and Kāpiti mayor K Gurunathan cut a ribbon to declare the Zeal Youth Development Centre open. Photo / David Haxton
Hannah Neal and Kāpiti mayor K Gurunathan cut a ribbon to declare the Zeal Youth Development Centre open. Photo / David Haxton

Zeal former chief executive Brook Turner said the milestone was "a commencement moment for the mahi to really begin."

He challenged everyone in the district to "continue to believe in your young people, to come alongside what this place is, to get involved, to innovate, to grow, to build and to make it vibrant".

"And from what the past has been, which led to this moment, I have no doubt that this community can do that."

Mr Turner said all young people had a unique contribution to make.

"But it takes a community that's willing to recognise it, a community that is willing to come together and build something where they say 'the future of young people in this city will have a place to build their dreams on' and that is what you have done."

Kāpiti Coast District Council deputy mayor Janet Holborow praised the Kāpiti Coast Youth Council noting its submission some years ago to the Long Term Plan was "key in the community understanding that young people needed this, wanted this and would use this". It became a priority project.

She said the youth centre wasn't just a building "but about values, a philosophy and creating an energy that young people want to be a part of, and most importantly ownership by the people its providing for".

"Zeal is about creativity, inclusiveness, passion, acceptance, embracing uniqueness."

Kāpiti College principal Tony Kane, who chaired the Youth Centre Advisory Group, said some youth centres came and went but the Zeal model had a strong youth development focus and was a national organisation with a proven track record.

"Ultimately we went back to council and said we thought it would work.

"The young people had the passion for it but here was the detail that would make it work."

Harris Sciascia, a former youth council member, said getting Zeal onboard "made the whole project real."

"They've done an incredible job of reaching out to young people across Kāpiti and connecting everyone."

Zeal Kapiti manager David Orchard, who has spearheaded the project in the last three years, noted research said having supportive stable adults made a real difference in young people lives.

"Resilience research suggest five key support people in their life throughout adolescence gives them the best chance of overcoming any barriers or hardships they may come across.

"Are there people in your life that you can be one of those stable adults for?

"It doesn't mean you have to have a huge part, just that you're a listening ear, just that you're a person whose checking in on someone, because that's what makes a difference."

Kāpiti mayor K Gurunathan said the centre was a great platform for youth.

"This is your time to fly, but also make sure you reach out to the people who have fallen through the cracks — you are their strength."

■ There is a Youth Launch Party at the centre from 7pm to 10pm. This is a drug and alcohol free event with no door charge. Food and drinks available for sale. Live music from Archie The Brave as well as Devon Welch.