The transformation of Kaitaia's old Pak'nSave building into a youth and community activity centre, has suffered a setback, but is making progress.

Andy Cuckney, who is driving the project, is in Australia, recovering from injuries suffered in an accident last year, but Shine on Kaitaia has stepped up, its current focus being on improving the exterior of the former supermarket.

That process will continue on Saturday, when it hosts a Youth Week 'paint-up,' 10am to 1pm, where young people will have the chance to learn some skills from local graffiti and contemporary artists, in preparation for the next mural phase, followed by a workshop at the Youth Space, 4pm to 6pm.

The Kaitaia Youth Centre Trust, which continues to work on developing the interior, negotiated a 50-year lease on the property and the purchase of the building with Foodstuffs last year, at a total cost of $2, with the idea of turning it into a work and meeting space for youth.


Foodstuffs North Island CEO Chris Quin said a "fantastic" youth-led social enterprise was now set to help young people in Kaitaia realise their dreams, enabling them to meet, share their ideas for their future and put them into action.

Mr Cuckney, an international consultant who had made the Far North his home, said the community had tremendous potential, but young people needed focus and direction.

"Having a place to call their own, that they can invest in and develop to suit their needs, is critical," he said.

"We're fully embracing the social enterprise concept, where anything that we do here to raise money from hard work will be reinvested back into the centre and our projects."

The supermarket, which opened in 1985, was New Zealand's first Pak'nSave, Mr Quin saying Foodstuffs had wanted to do something "extraordinary" to acknowledge the support it had received from Kaitaia "from the get-go."