David Dingwall’s clear vision was for a high-quality environment that was uplifting for the tamariki and rangatahi who lived here. The original holding was a 50ha farm in Papatoetoe with a village at its heart, surrounding a grassed oval. The substantial red-brick cottages were designed to last by one of New Zealand’s best-regarded architectural firms at the time – Gummer and Ford. The property and communal living provided many learning and work-experience opportunities for tamariki and rangatahi, building character and giving them the skills necessary to go out into the world, find a job and make a life.
Today, Papatoetoe occupies most of the original farm. But, in testament to our founder’s vision, the red-brick cottages still stand (although modernised inside). They remain in a park-like setting with many communal facilities – continuing to provide a haven for tamariki and rangatahi more than 90 years later.