Giving you a real chance.

Moana House is a well-established residential therapeutic community in Dunedin, New Zealand for tanē with a connection to the criminal justice system who want to change their lives for the betterment of themselves, their whānau and their communities.

Steps leading up to one of the rehabilitation houses, with a garden outside
Male hands with tattoos on his arms holding out a carved bone patu in front of himself

This patu was carved from whalebone by Paul Anderson, Workshop Manager, in 1997, and donated by him to the Moana House Programme, to be used on ceremonial occasions.

It was blessed by Huata Holmes in August 1997, and he named it “Kai Marie” – Peacemaker.

In the event of the programme ever closing, Paul has requested that Claire Aitken, Programme Director, is to take ownership of the Patu.

Passed by a resolution of the Board of Trustees, September 1997.

Our mission

Moana House is run by a charitable trust, the Downie Stewart Foundation, and has been in existence since 1984. It operates from an ordinary house in the suburbs, and can cater for up to 19 people at a time.

The therapeutic community has a strong bicultural focus, and staff have a special responsibility to help residents individually and as a group, and the Foundation as a whole, to grow and develop.

Our area of expertise is working with tāne. Those who come to the house have multiple difficulties - substance abuse, poor relationships, are victims or perpetrators of violence, physical or sexual, are underachievers, have poor work skills, and difficulties in setting and achieving goals.

Wooden Māori carving with pāua shell eyes

Our area of expertise is working with offenders.

Those who come to the house have multiple difficulties:

Substance abuse

Poor relationships

Are victims or perpetrators of violence

Physical or sexual

Are underachievers

Have poor work skills

Difficulties in setting and achieving goals

A greenstone touchstone sitting in front of a blue wall

Where it all began

In 1984 the trustees gathered together, at the prompting of Mr Mike Martin, who had himself experienced considerable difficulty in the court system, and Mr JD Murray, who was a district court judge in Dunedin at the time, and the Moana House Programme was established.

Claire Aitken, the Programme Director, has been in that position since 1987. The idea for the programme was loosely based around the Delancy Street Programme in San Francisco.

Both Mike and JD have now passed on, but their spirit continues to live in the programme at Moana House, Dunedin.

Lenny The Cat

Say hello to Lenny the Cat, the real boss of Moana House! Lenny is the whare cat who is usually found lounging in the sun.

A sleeping cat (Lenny) on a seat inside one of the conference rooms

Our Supporters

Moana House would like to thank all our supporters. In addition to the funders mentioned below, there are also many kind individuals who donate to us throughout the year. We are appreciative of your donations of money, food, clothing, plants, firewood and other gifts-in-kind.

Christmas Trees

At Moana House, we’re committed to supporting men on their journey towards recovery from addiction and criminal behaviour.

Support our Work

As part of our efforts, we sell Christmas trees during the holiday season that have been cut down by the men in our programme.

This tradition not only supports our organisation but also provides an opportunity for the men to develop valuable skills and take pride in their work. We encourage everyone to support our Christmas tree sale and help us continue to make a positive impact in the lives of those we serve.

We’re here to help. If you’re interested in our programmes or know someone who could use our support, please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information or to make a referral.