Each cabin cost $15,000. PHOTO/FACEBOOK

KAREN COLTMAN
karen.coltman@age.co.nz

Six Carterton cabins for six young people in need are ready for them to move into.

As soon as Carterton Baptist Church leaders hold their meeting with neighbours to sign off the young people’s names, they can take up residence and begin a better and safer journey to adulthood.

During the young people’s time at the Baptist Church village, church leaders Jennifer and Wayne Poutoa would work hard to revive their identity and raise their self-esteem.

The vision is that they would go “into the world” as capable and stable young adults.

The young people, aged 15 to 19 years old, are recommended to the village because they are suicidal or from troubled childhoods and need help to survive as young adults.

The cabins are at the back of the church on Broadway and the Poutoas live on site.

The cabins were sourced by Chris Dugdale of the Dugdale Charitable Trust.

Dugdale heard about the project to get cabins for young people and said she wanted the trust to invest immediately.

“I love doing building projects and this is a way for me to bring my experience to help.

“I sourced the best affordable cabin I could in Napier through another church member and set to organising the practical aspects of the project,” Dugdale said.

The six cabins are now fitted out with curtains, blinds, carpet, a bed and bedding, shelving, a desk, two chairs, and a heater.

They are built to New Zealand building code standard but did not require the consents of a larger building.

The village has a communal kitchen and laundry, and toilets and showers are down at the end of the lounge.

Husband and wife church leaders Jennifer and Wayne Poutoa in one of the new cabins. PHOTO/KAREN COLTMAN

Jennifer Poutoa is the mother figure for the young people.

“When we moved from Porirua to here three years ago, we wanted to carry on helping youths – this is what we do,” she said.

“I am the mum here that cheers them on, and they really haven’t had that

“These kids think they have to be someone else to fit into society.

“But they just need a chance to find themselves again.

“This is our job with them in their first year – for them to regain or find their identity.”

But Wayne Poutoa’s first mission is to get his charges off their devices and “into the real world”.

He said over the years, the young people he had helped suffered from anxiety and depression and were usually too scared to live their lives at all.

He said they played games too much on their devices and did not experience enough of life.

“They have shut off and shut down,” he said.

“The first year of the project is to get these kids an individual life, a life for them.

“We help them get jobs and gain personal survival skills.”

He said along with the skill building, a huge part of what he taught was patience.

“I am teaching that if they want to be on a plane to a different country or up to Auckland, they need money and capability, they need a dream, but most importantly, they need to learn patience.”

Donations and community support have been key to the success of the village construction project.

Each cabin cost $15,000.

Three cabins were donated, and the rest were fundraised for.

Most supplies for the fit-out for the cabins was donated by Carterton and Masterton businesses and supporters.