Papa Hou & The Kind Foundation

Christchurch, New Zealand (Ōtautahi, Aotearoa)

A new facility to help foster social development and diverse skills in Christchurch.

Rendering courtesy of Architectus Architects

The Kind Foundation was known as YMCA Christchurch and affiliated with YMCA New Zealand until 2023. The group has benefited the young people of Christchurch through a range of education and leadership programs, cultivating the environment and opportunities to learn, thrive and grow into a generation of strong leaders since 1862. They take pride in being a place of growth and opportunity for all members of their local community, including older adults and people with disabilities. A new complex for the Kind Foundation’s range of ongoing community-based activities the culmination of the vision and efforts of the organization’s board, and was enabled by provision of funding via the NZ government’s “shovel ready” initiative.

Papa Hou (which means treasure box in te reo Māori), the new facility’s Black-Box auditorium, is a key element to the offerings of the campus, embodying the Kind Foundation’s mission to provide the community with facilities to expand physical and cultural experience, and spaces for social development, gathering, friendships, and developing new and diverse skills. The ambition for Papa Hou – and the performance elements in particular – has led to proposals that we hope are a dynamic, intimate, and adaptable modern performance venue enhancing the overall provision of spaces within the local area, and in which emerging and established voices and musicians can flourish.

Charcoalblue have provided full theatre Planning and Design services as well as full technical systems designs for the project. The proposed theatre adapts the traditional form of a single raked auditorium. It has been developed to create a space that meshes the requirements of both theatrical and community use, by incorporating the former facility’s seating rake and optimising the steep retractable unit within the new auditorium. This tried and tested theatrical element (well used by the client) creates a massing of audience, placing the performers at the heart of the room, focusing the crowd, and creating an intimate and energetic environment.

Project Details


The Kind Foundation

Project cost



Late 2023

Rendering courtesy of Architectus Architects




Building Service Consultants

Mesh Consulting

Structural Engineers

Ruamoko NZ

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Want to learn more about Papa Hou & The Kind Foundation? Contact Erin!

+61 (03) 9417 6524

Supporting the industry internationally since 2004

The Queen's Awards for Enterprise: International Trade 2020 UK Theatre Tonic Theatre Communications Group Carbon Literate Orginisation - Silver
Portrait of Erin against a blue background

Want to learn more about Papa Hou & The Kind Foundation? Contact Erin!

Contact Erin

+61 (03) 9417 6524