January 2019 Highlights

Vinnies & Grace Ministries off to WORLD YOUTH DAY PANAMA 2019


Fr Kevin Murphy led a beautiful liturgy at The Good Shepherd Parish Grotto to bless the eight pilgrims who are attending World Youth Day in Panama this year.  A special thank you also to Monsignor Bernard Kiely for your constant love and support of us. GRACE ministries are blessed to be playing on one of the big stages at World Youth Day. We pray for travelling mercies and blessings upon this team. 🙏
#MaristVinniesGrace families:

Seeing off the Representative Pilgrims of Vinnies & Grace Ministries 2019!
God speed e te whānau!

They have arrived in Panama!

Check out some of the Auckland Vinnies meeting some of the World Wide Vinnies Whānau! #ServiensSpe #WYD2019 #PanamaOpeningCeremony
#WYDPANAMA2019 #OpeningCeremony

DECEMBER 2018 Highlights

Feed A Family Project Launches

What is the FEED A FAMILY appeal 2018?

‘’Feed a Family’’ is an appeal by the Society of St Vincent de Paul, Kingsland Centre, to support families who are struggling to put food on the table during the Christmas Season. It is an opportunity for you to connect with a family, and really make a difference.

The Kingsland St Vincent de Paul food bank was initially set up in the late 1990s to support a few families and vulnerable people around the periphery of the city especially those referred by our Catholic Churches near the Auckland CBD. Today the Kingsland Foodbank is operating at full capacity and punching above its weight putting out food boxes to support over 3000 people in 2018.

The people who come to us seeking support, vary from your city rough sleeper, through to parents and grandparents both with jobs who simply cannot put food on the table due to extra costs. Other people are referred through social service providers, Work and Income, mental health services, refuges, prison and so forth. By the time these people and families arrive at our door food is already in short supply. Housing usually takes precedence to food, when choosing whether to pay food or rent. Food insecurity is a really serious issue in New Zealand, it remains hidden as there is a lot of stigma and shame around poverty and being poor.

With Christmas approaching, many of these families are already worried and anxious about food and gifts for their loved ones. That is why we have come to you. Can you help some families put food on the table for or sponsor a gift for a child? Any support will make a difference.

What can you do?

• Sponsor Christmas gift packs for a family at $25 a pack. • Sponsor linen pack for a family at $40 a pack. • Sponsor Food packs for a family at $80 a pack. • Donate any amount you can that will go towards a pack. • Support a family with your prayers.

Internet Banking to Society of St Vincent de Paul Auckland. •

ASB Bank 12-3017-0500224-00

Reference Fields: Your name and the words “FeedAFamily”.

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and Fundraiser for New Zealand Prisons:

The Vinnies Youth Auckland collective fundraised for and collected around 20,000+ Christmas cards again to gift our whanau in Prisons to send to their loved ones. They were able to do it last year, so they did it again this year.

This is because to date there are just over 10,435 people residing in our New Zealand Prisons and it is important that we acknowledge their humanity and also that of their families especially during this Christmas Season.


Vinnies Kingsland Centre Team

This wonderful team pictured below (missing a few people) were celebrated for their dedicated service at the Vinnies Kingsland Centre throughout 2018. Below is included some of the Vinnies Auckland Youth Team, the Vinnies Kingsland Foodbank staff, Vinnies Young Adults Volunteers, and the Vinnies Opportunity Shop volunteers, all of whom contribute to the running of the Vinnies Kingsland Centre, which serves many people every day.

L – R from the back: Geoff, Bob, Robert, Victoria, Yvonne, Gene, Penelope, Jean, Vavao, Del, Kili, Theresa, Shirley, Tara, Dominique, Pari, Cynthia, Midori, Jo, Savi, Maria


Marist College Vinnies:

Supporting Families

Every year, the Vinnies Kingsland Centre is always grateful for the Marist College community, who generously gift their time, care and effort, particularly in the lead up to the Christmas Season. These young women are pictured sorting and packing bulk care packs (toiletries and other personal items), for families in need.

Marist College Vinnies




Every year Vinnies Kingsland (St Vincent de Paul Kingsland ) give out 2500+ food parcels to Families in need. “Giving for Living” Christmas Appeal is where you can help families in need. Help the Vinnies Kingsland Centre feed families this Christmas by spreading the joy and love of Christ.

  • $80 will give a family a food pack
  • $40 will give a family a linen pack
  • $25 will give a family a Christmas gift pack
  • Make a Tax deductible Donation today and Fee a Family this Christmas.

Click here to donate now through Givealittle: Feed a Family Givealittle Donat

The aim is to ensure families have food to put on the table during the Christmas Season. #givingforliving #helpushelpothers #webelongtoeachother

FEED A FAMILY Parcels for


Kingsland and Glen Innes Vinnies combined their efforts this year to support families in need in Glen Innes. Thank you to Sialia and all the Vincentian Team at St Pius X Parish, Glen Innes for all their mahi and service in supporting local families this Christmas.


FEED A FAMILY Fundraising at the




The Shades generously invited the Vinnies Feedafamily Ambassadors to sell food and drinks to fundraise for the Christmas Hampers for families, at their Concert in November this year. There was a wonderful Vinnies Crew (pic below) there who worked hard behind the scenes to ensure this #Feedafamily fundraiser was a successful one!


The Vinnies Catering Volunteering Crew working hard at the Shades Concert for #FeedaFamily

Furthermore, the Shades Concert was a huge success! It was SOLD out, and so was all the food and drink! Great job to the guys Ipu, Manase, Take and Samson pictured above, who’ve always been so supportive the the Vinnies Kingsland Centre and its projects!

Check out how their Concert went below, and subscribe to the Shades Youtube Channel for more updates!




The New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference support the Tu Kahikatea Awards.  Around New Zealand, the awards are judged based on one national criteria but are promoted, decided and awarded locally by the Diocesan Youth & Young Adult Ministry Team and/or Commission.

The Awards are about recognising the gift that youth and young adults are to the Catholic Church in Aotearoa New Zealand, and thanking them for the outstanding contributions they make to their community. They are named after the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference statement – Tu Kahikatea: Standing Tall – A Framework for Catholic Ministry with Young People in Aotearoa New Zealand (see www.catholic.org.nz for a copy).

Tū Kahikatea Awards: Auckland Youth & Young Adult Ministry Catholic Diocese

In November, at a Diocesan Youth Mass led by the Auckland Catholic Youth Ministry whānau, Vinnies Young Adults Leaders:  Latayvia Tualasea-Tautai, Sione Pole, Craig Franswah and Lupesina Koro,  were acknowledged for their tireless service, leadership and hard work in helping others.

Click here for more information on the Tū Kahikatea Awards.


Feed a Family Preparation Continues…

Vinnies Kingsland Centre were grateful for all these Young Vinnies Volunteers  for coming in to assist with the #FeedAFamily mahi. Packaging up gifts, purchasing gifts, and preparing Christmas invitations for families to come and pick up their FeedAFamily Christmas Boxes. The team are so for the energy these leaders bring to the Kingsland Centre! #FeedAFamily



“Rosalina” – The Show

The Vinnies Kingsland Centre crew and some of the Vinnies crew got to go and support Bob Savea (part of Vinnies Youth Team) and his Sau e Siva Creatives Collective who put on an amazing show, which showcased a talented cast made up of almost 100 of the community. There were even some talented Young Vinnies involved too! Congratulations to the whole cast they were superb!


Regular Service Projects Continue…

And through it all, the regular volunteering projects continue:

Weekly at Mt Eden Prison, City Mission and Auckland Hospital volunteering and Monthly at Wesley Rest Home Hospital Vincentian Mass.

October Highlights

Final School Visits

Throughout the year, the Youth Team have been privileged to walk alongside 14 Catholic Colleges in their journey of service. This final school term has become an opportunity to reflect on that journey and formally give recognition for their works of service to the community. In retrospect, many students recalled the moments of struggle when putting together service projects. Others spoke of the insight such struggles brought about, and how their experiences brought them closer to others – especially those who are vulnerable and marginalised. There was a resounding sense of gratitude and happiness for what was achieved however. As the students looked at the range of activities that had been done throughout the year, their spirits became lifted. What began as a simple sign-up sheet and weekly meeting, soon became a platform to grow, connect and learn from those whom they serve. “The small things matter… we learn by serving others”, says one McAuley High School student. With these experiences voiced out, they hope to apply them into their everyday lives and in future service endeavours. In the meantime, the Society of St Vincent de Paul are deeply thankful for their works throughout 2018. These included but are not limited to:

  • Weekly support for SVdP Foodbanks making foodparcels
  • Weekly mentoring programmes at De Paul Emergency Housing Centre, Takapuna
  • Weekly homework assistance at St Pius Primary School
  • Bulk food drives to supplement SVdP foodbanks
  • Bulk clothing drives
  • Cooking bulk meals for the community
  • Preparing and serving meals at Ronald McDonald House
  • Cancer awareness, fundraising and support initiatives
  • Gardening for the elderly
  • Picnic days for Oranga Tamariki / Children under care
  • Cooking meals for those who are homeless
  • Cardmaking for those who are incarcerated
  • Rest home visitation
  • Homelessness Immersion experiences
  • Care pack collections for families

Each of these projects has brought the members of Vinnies Youth Auckland closer to the community. We give thanks to all staff and students involved, as well as the many collectives throughout Auckland with whom we are connected to.

Caring for Those who are Incarcerated

The first visit to a corrections facility as a volunteer minister can seem daunting at first. The array of forms to fill out, the checks and processes to learn, as well as the prospect of interacting with those who have been incarcerated can become overwhelming. However, the chaplains who reside at Mt Eden Corrections facility go out of their way to ensure all involved are made to feel welcome and valued. Approximately 1,700 volunteers work with Prison Chaplaincy Services Aotearoa to provide religious support for incarcerated men and women in NZ. New volunteers are shown the ropes, and in the case of the Vinnies group who attend – they are given every opportunity to share their gifts and talents.


The experience is a two way street, as many of those who reside behind bars often share their wisdom and talents in return. The Vinnies group lead a liturgy of the word, sharing the messages of the Gospel through speech and song within at least two housing units within the facility. Alongside a few other collectives anywhere between 10 and 12 services can be celebrated on a given Sunday. In one week alone, it was found that a total of 148 men were listed as attending these opportunities to share and reflect. For new volunteers, they have noted that it has built their confidence, shattered stereotypes and given a platform for a greater understanding of the criminal justice system to be realised.

West Vinnies’ Social Event


West Vinnies Youth Leaders

In preparation for community projects in the Christmas season, the Vinnies of both St Dominic’s and Liston College have run a series of fundraisers. Recently, the two groups hosted a neon themed social gathering. The proceeds of this fundraiser will go towards an upcoming community day for the families at Ranui Caravan Park. Recognising the youthful side of being a Young Vinnie has allowed both groups to tap into their talents and organisational skills to provide a social event that is tied to a specific work in the community.

Connecting With Those Who Are Homeless

Whether it’s a temporary set-back or a long-term issue that needs expert attention, the Auckland City Mission seeks to give aid to families and those who have no place to call home. In 2017 alone, a total of 112 people who were homeless were successfully housed. Often aside from simply having a place to call home, individuals yearn for a sense of belonging and someone to talk to. Each weekend, a group of Vinnies aid in serving tea and coffees to those who come through the City Mission doors.


Auckland City Mission Drop In Volunteers

Over a cuppa those who are gathered engage in conversation – sometimes tales of what was discovered earlier in the day, a funny story from the street or sometimes an insight into what brought about a life without a home. These opportunities for genuine connection are well received by all, with some volunteers opting to volunteer every week so as to keep their friendships strong. Hearing their stories and simply being present is significant for those who volunteer, as it reveals that homelessness is a complex and multi-dimensional issue. Each experience of connection affirms this fact.

Helping the Healing Process: Hospital Visitation

With over 1,100 beds, the Auckland Hospital can become a busy space at any time of the year. Amidst the journeys of recovery and healing, a few faithful Vinnies dedicate their morning to accompanying patients on the way to Sunday Mass.


These short, brief moments of exchange to and from mass build upon the sense of community in an institution that values health and wellbeing. Many of the Vinnies who volunteer on Sunday’s also partake in studies within the health sector. In recognizing the importance of face to face contact, that which they learn in University becomes all the more significant. Sunday volunteering at Auckland Hospital will carry forward until the end of the year.

Thanksgiving Ceremony 2018


AVSSC Awardees

Within Auckland, Vinnies Youth comprises of 14 Catholic high school groups, as well as a young adults conference. Numerous other project-based groups are located across city central such as those at Auckland Hospital, Local Resthomes, Mt Eden Corrections Facility and Auckland City Mission. The thanksgiving ceremony is an annual event which recognizes the achievements of those who lead in the aforementioned. It is through their care and compassion that so many lives were aided within the community. To date, 2018 has seen a total of 46,580 volunteer hours completed. This is telling of the impact created by each group as they prepare and run their service projects. During the ceremony, those gathered were honoured to celebrate such deeds – the service works, relationships built, and faith journeys of the Youth leaders as well as their respective groups. In addition we also heard some poignant words of wisdom from Deacon Martin Wu, our celebrant for the night.


Deacon Martin giving his blessing to the leaders

He spoke of the importance of connectedness and remaining faithful to the gift of service. Deacon Martin also gave his blessing to the leaders, beckoning them to carry out their works for the many years to come. Last of all we recognized the significance of parents and caregivers who attended the ceremony. The Society was mindful of the many late nights spent picking up their children from leadership gatherings, afterschool projects and special events throughout the year. If not for their care and nurture the students would not have been able to achieve what they set out to do. Each leader was presented with an award, as well as a few tokens of appreciation for the journey ahead.

Afterschool Assistance at SVdP Centres


Volunteers from Mt Albert Grammar School

Despite the incoming exam season, the Society of St Vincent de Paul are grateful for the many students who have continued to support their local foodbanks and opshops. On any given day, anywhere between 10 and 15 families can come through the SVdP Centre in need of food assistance. There is no doubt that the students’ assistance in ensuring that foodparcels are prepared neatly for families and maintaining the retail area has made serving the community all the more smoother.



Final AVSSC Gathering

Pictured below are the leaders which make up the Auckland Vinnies Secondary Schools Council (AVSSC). When asked eight months ago what their understanding of the Vincentian charism was, the room sat in unnerving silence. Fast-track to the month of September at their final gathering, and their presence communicates anything but. What began as a mixed sense of excitement, anxiety and hope; soon unfolded into moments of unforgettable insight and learning. The final gathering of these leaders was an opportunity to feedback their differing experiences and what they learnt about the Vincentian charism. As leaders, they have heeded the call to guide and mentor their respective school groups in service works throughout the community. The feedback was enriched by the insight gained by experiences in serving the vulnerable and marginalised in society. Tales and narratives which were shared mirrored those of the Vincentian founders 200 years prior, a poignant reminder that the Society of St Vincent de Paul is grounded and sustained for the many years to come. The youth team are thankful to have been a part of their formation for the last eight gatherings. As the term unfolds further, these young leaders go onwards to prepare for end of year examinations and the wrap up of their service works for the year.


AVSSC 2018 Leaders

Cooking at Ronald McDonald House

Tasked with maintaining the wellbeing of families when a child is in a New Zealand hospital away from home, the Ronald McDonald House provides a haven for healing to be nurtured. Families come to the House in Auckland from across New Zealand. Though the average length of stay is seven days, many families will to stay for weeks and months on end. The Houses provide a home away from home, offering families a safe haven to retreat to, after a long day on the ward.


Young Adults Cooking Service

As part of taking care of the practical things in life, the Ronald McDonald House relies on volunteers to help cook meals throughout the year. This year, two Vinnies collectives – The Young Adults and Sancta Maria College both took a turn each in cooking up a bulk meal to support the families residing in the housing units. With scrumptious food and varied entertainment, these young men and women created an escape from the clinical world of medicine, to take comfort in the familiarity and routine of a home-like environment. Both groups put their teams of master chefs together, fundraised, planned the meal and made it a night that kept families’ spirits high so they could continue supporting their child in hospital. There was plenty of left-overs to go around, giving families who missed out on the night the flexibility of eating a meal without losing precious time preparing it.



Cans for Christmas

The Society of St Vincent de Paul woulsd like to take this time to give thanks to the numerous schools, students and families for contributing towards the Cans for Christmas food drive throughout the last month. This initiative was spearheaded by Billy Hadnett and Michael Mullin, two secondary school teachers in Auckland.


Over 21,000 cans were collected to support families in need across Auckland. We also want to acknowledge the helping hands of students from St. Paul’s College for making light work of those boxes.

Thank you on behalf of the many families the Society of St Vincent de Paul seek to assist.

Tamariki Day: Picnic for Kids

As an annual event, the Tamariki Day is a picnic hosted by St Peter’s and Marist College for children under care. A group of students from both schools prepared a day full of sports games, painting, arts and crafts; as well as an extensive banquet table. The air was soon filled with screams of joy and laughter as the children came through the doors. At the end of the hall, the caregivers relaxed with a cup of tea and chatted with some of the Vinnies Youth Team.


Many of these caregivers look after anywhere between one and eight children at a time, and so the opportunity to sit back was well received. There are lots of different ways children and young people come into care. Usually there’s time to plan how this will happen. For example, a decision might be made at a family group conference that it’s best for them to live with their aunty, or in another caring environment. Sometimes the decision for a child to live with someone else happens quickly, because there has been an incident or emergency situation where the state is needed to work quickly to make sure they are safe. Each situation is different. But the focus of the picnic has, and always will be as a platform for youth to enjoy a day filled with positive socialisation and new connections. As the picnic came to a close, the children bid their farewells and went home exhausted and happy. The caregivers were in awe of the students’ energy throughout the day – hosting over 80 young children was no easy feat but all were grateful for the opportunity to connect with one another.


New Beginnings: First Vinnies Project by Marcellin College

There was a sense of excitement amongst the Vinnies of Marcellin College, as they finished their classes for the day and swapped their books for an apron. As a new schools group that joined Vinnies Youth in 2018, these young men and women chose to run a cooking project to feed local families in the community.


“We wanted to do this because they deserve better… They Matter to us”, says one of the students as they reflected on the experience afterwards. In the space of a couple hours, these students were able to prepare 110 meals, ready to distribute to families in need. Confident that their first service project as a Vinnies group was a success, the collective looks forward to building upon their experiences and seeking more opportunities to serve.


Homeless Sleepout Experience

In July of 2017, the Auckland Council put the city’s homeless number at 23,409 – a statistic that has grown by more than 3000 since 2014. Looking beyond the numbers, the Vinnies of De La Salle College opted to take their learning one step further and sleep it rough for one night. The immersion experience proved cold and miserable, with many of the students equipped with only a single sleeping bag and a few sheets of cardboard to keep them warm for the night.


“This is the reality for many who don’t have a place to call home”, says Bob Savea; one of the Youth Team members present on the night. The experience required the students to build shelters and learn and share reflection about homelessness. Each groups’ presentation was as poignant as the last, and remained that way even into the early hours of the morning. During their dawn reflection, the participants shared honestly about their struggle to find sleep, how much they had taken for granted, and how they sought to apply their learnings into future service programmes. Recognising homelessness as more than a statistic, these young men left the retreat with a stronger sense of what it feels like to be without a place to call home.


Reflecting on Homelessness

Pacific Talanoa


Recently we were honoured to be approached by Yara Richmond and Adrian Mui Senior, advisors of the Northern Region of Ministry of Pacific Peoples to provide a platform for Pasifika youth leaders to engage with one another. The Ministry for Pacific Peoples is the Crown’s principal advisor on policies and interventions that improve outcomes for Pacific Peoples. Across the Vinnies Youth of Auckland, there are many pasifika in leadership positions within high schools and tertiary collectives, and so the evening provided an opportunity to bring voice to the journey of leadership and care. The subject matter for the gathering was success, what that looked like for pacifika people and how this was reflected through the pipeline from early childhood education, to schooling, tertiary education and finally the workforce, entrepreneurship and their own families.


Cooking for the Community

Throughout the term, the Vinnies of both Carmel and Rosmini College have chosen to explore the concept of homelessness. There are many reasons why people become homeless and the issue is complex. Some homeless people are living with mental illness and/or addictions, while others are not. However, homelessness is frequently a result of being socially, emotionally and physically isolated from networks that many of us take for granted. With this knowledge gained, the Vinnies of the two colleges cooked a bulk meal for distribution at Auckland City Mission. The Mission is one of the few remaining social service providers in Auckland’s inner city and one of our key focus areas is the support of those who are homeless, especially those sleeping rough on Auckland’s inner-city streets. With the help of college staff, the students made short work of the meal and were soon dropping it off in time for dinner at the mission.



Feast Mass of St Vincent de Paul

At the end of September, Vinnies Youth Auckland hosted the Diocesan Youth Mass. The theme was “Live in Me” and was celebrated by Monsignor Bernard Kiely. The event also coincided with the Feast Mass of St Vincent de Paul, with less than 1000 coming together at the St Patrick’s Cathedral.


The youth presented a moving animation of the Mass’s theme, bringing the messages of the homily to life through dance and song. It was a poignant Mass filled with music, prayer, and recognition of the life of St Vincent de Paul.



August Highlights Pt.2

Rise For Climate!

During the month of August, the Vinnies Team have been working along side climate warriors from 350 Pacific in the hopes of raising awareness for the growing problems affecting our climate. 350 Pacific is a youth led network who works with communities to help fight against the climate change happening within the pacific islands. This month, both 350 Pacific and Vinnies teamed up to prepare for a hikoi (march) that will be happening on the 8th September by painting and preparing banners.

The hope for this is march is to raise awareness as a community on the negative impact fossil fuels have on our planet, especially in the pacific islands.

Banners being painted at our Kingsland Vinnies Shop by both Climate Warriors and Vinnies.

Banners designed by the Vinnies from out in West.

A Sweet way to Raise Awareness!

As a way of representing Pink Day at their school, the girls from Carmel College had decided to raise awareness for those who are suffering from breast cancer. Dressed all in pink, these Vinnies leaders spent hours making and prepping pink candy floss as a creative way of raising this awareness. Both students and leaders are confident when they say that the candy floss was a huge hit!

South Side Cook Ups

At the St Vincent de Paul Centre in Otahuhu, students from De La Selle College and McAuley Highschool are currently running service projects in order to provide for families who are in need. Each week, each school on different days offer their time after school to prepare and cook meals which would later be distributed to families when they come in seeking food parcels. Under the supervision of South Vinnies President Tonia Greatbatch, these meals keep the food bank stocked until these students come back to do it all over again.

McAuley Highschool students prepping curryd on rice, ready to be picked up 

The aim of this project is to help the staff out in Otahuhu with the high demands they face every day and to also make sure that there are quick and easy meals ready for pick up when people come through.

De La Selle students cooking beef stews and fried rice ready to be stored until needed.

Vinnies YADS Leader Retreat

In the final weeks of August, our Vinnies were fortunate enough to run a retreat for our Young Adult leaders or “YADS” for short. It was a time to take a step back from the work load of life and to reflect on the journey that each leader has taken this year. The day consisted of discussion, first taking time to stand and reflect on what bought each individual to the retreat that day. From there, it became a larger focus on who each person was and what patterns in their life which led them to be who they are that day.

The day was then concluded with soulful songs and praise and a few challenges that each person took on with the hope of getting them out of their comfort zone. Teachings, lessons, and realisations were absorbed by each person at the retreat with everyone leaving with this statement:

It is the pattern of our past and the intensities of a moment in time that shape our present and therefore, our future.