The Birkdale and Beach Haven Community House is devoted to ensuring that the community’s individual and collective needs are met, and this is successfully seen from the significant increase in members.

According to it’s annual report, it has been growing larger every year. From April 2015 to March 2016 it greeted over 12,633 people.

The Birkdale Community House, located on 134 Birkdale Road, Birkdale
(Photograph taken by Sara Dajani)

Carla Van Walen is the manager of the Birkdale community house and is constantly striving to ensure that the house is adhering to the community’s needs. Walen described her intense passion for the community house by saying “I love giving back to the community, it’s kinda like a church, but without the religious side of it.”

Walen and the local community flower planting at the Opaketai Beach Haven Gardens opening
(photograph provided by Walen)

The Birkdale and Beach Haven community house is located on the North Shore and has a wide range of 80 groups. Some categories include religious, cultural, exercise, special abilities, language and environmentally friendly groups.

Walen said that after having frequent meetings with other houses, the Birkdale and Beach Haven community house has been concluded to be the most diverse house on the North Shore. They have the most community development which is evident through tasks such as three food drives in the last year to help gather food for people in need.

They have a strong partnership with the Kapatiki Community Facilities Trust that is also situated in the local area and helps them organise relevant events that assist with progressing community growth.
Walen sitting next to Jill from the Kaipatiki Community Facilities Trust and Richard from the Kaipatiki Local Board. Photograph supplied by Carla van Walen

In an in-depth interview that Walen did with thirty members of the community, she received very positive feedback about the community house being very relevant and up-to-date than it used to be.

Walen started a single parents group to ensure that they are supported within the community. After researching four months ago, Walen discovered that 20.8% of individuals living in Birkdale and Beach Haven are two parent families, and 13% of them are single parents. Walen observed that the group has been successful and the mothers have furthered their connections with each other outside of the community house.

Walen explained that there was a young girl who really wanted to do volunteering at the house and that she supported her through that. “She came here on her first day with no shoes and her top hanging down… we managed to rummage around and get her some clothes, and really help her. And she managed to walk away with her shoulders back, feeling really proud of who she was. She’d really learned from that.”

Walen shared that there has been a struggle to maintain group members, in particular with the drumming group that meets every Tuesday. The group started around 10 months ago and cost the Community House a lot of money since there were low numbers of members. However, she said that they partnered with the partners associated with the IHC people and invited them to the drumming workshop. Now it is very active and doing well.

Walen further said that they receive so much enjoyment from social interaction from the workshop. The video below portrays the enjoyment from the members of the drumming class. Walen described it as “really special.”

The drumming workshop which meets up every Tuesday at the community house 

A member of the workshop playing the drums

On there were a few questions posed  by asking local members of the community what groups they use and what they think of the community house. The responses received were very positive, and members of the community utilised a range of groups available.


Joy Brandy was involved in the craft groups

Phillipa Hawken used it for exercise and art groups in particular

Tamara Jenkins joined the zumba classes 

The Birkdale and Beach Haven Community House is a compassionate and devoted constitution which acts as a role model to other community houses situated in Auckland, because of its noticeable devotion and rapid success in helping with the community’s growth.

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