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The Full Story

Our History

Skills4Living began it's journey as Horowhenua SuperGrans thanks to the vision of Erin McMenimin from Lower Hutt. In the mid-90s Erin saw a need for young people to learn basic housekeeping tasks and noticed there were older unemployed women who had life skills to share, a willingness to do so and who had a desire to give back to their local community.


It was in December of 1997 that Erin contacted Pat Smith in Levin and she assisted in starting what was initially known as Anchor SuperGrans for the Horowhenua region.  Pat Smith was the local coordinator, with the support of 5 Board members and a small team of 4 volunteers. The organisation's humble beginnings started as a one-to-one service. However, in 1999 the service grew from individual working to include reaching out to the general community and other organisations. The first community based courses were in cooking and home care. With the aim to build up people's food skills and demonstrate good hygiene practice. It also created opportunities to increase and develop an individual's confidence in their own abilities as well as recognising the value of older people.

In April 1999 Horowhenua SuperGrans became registered with the Companies Office under the Charitable Trusts Act 1957. By the end of May 1999, Charitable Approval was gained under the Inland Revenue. Funding was sought from various sources (including: Lotteries Grant Board, Community Employment Group, Eastern & Central Community Trust and Hillary Commission) to help reach out to more members in the community.


In the December of 1999, Pat chose to leave the organisation, and this is where Rose Cotter (who is still with us today) fits in to the picture.  By 2003 the service had grown immensely and as a result of this Kim Bradnock joined Rose in February 2004. Kim too has remained with the organisation till this day.

the next big change was in April 2008 when we became registered with the Charities Commission.

Over time the skills sharing service that was SuperGrans has grown and grown. In 2013 we started to provide a Supervised Contact Service for non-custodial parents and children to spend time together in a safe way. It was noticed that there was a gap in the community for Parenting classes so a partnership contract with the Ministry of Education was obtained, staff were sent on training and the facilitation of the Incredible years programme began. 

as the needs of the community changed, and new needs were identified the organisation began to adapt, no longer was it solely older women sharing their personal skills, but an increase in professionally trained persons delivering complex and specialist service support. The mentors and volunteers had a wealth of knowledge to share, above and beyond the humble beginings of cooking and home management. New services included, budgeting, crafts, community gardening and so much more! Then, due to this rapid growth of services, in 2015 the need was identified to employ a manager. In August 2015 the manager was appointed for 4 days per week. 

It was agreed that due to the original Horowhenua SuperGrans growing so much, that the name needed to change to reflect this....

Skills4Living was born!




"Our undertaking is to ensure that Skills 4 Living are “Delivering quality life skill services in collaboration with Community”.






"Our vision is that those living in the Horowhenua and Otaki Community are “Skilled 4 Life”

Our Values

These values are more than just words on paper.  Our values guide our business and help Skills 4 Living achieve its vision, mission, goals and objectives in partnership with our clients and our community.

Our six core values are:

Relationships – Build trusted, respectful and transparent relationships

Community relations are the ‘food for the soul’ of Skills 4 Living.  Building and maintaining strong relationships is a key aspect of our business, and a fundamental ingredient for the health of our organisation.

As a core strategy, it allows Skills 4 Living to attract and retain top employees and board members, positions Skills 4 Living among clients, customers and stakeholders, increasingly improves our position in the market and in our community, boosts our bottom line through positive, proactive connections with our community.


Accessible – We are accessible to all

Being accessible to all is a direction encompassing three key drivers- addressing needs, meeting future demand, ensuring services are fit-for-purpose.

This strategic intent focuses our energies on progressing our priorities to ensure we:

  • have the right environment - the community has access to fit-for-purpose facilities.

  • support our people to operate and deliver services, projects and programmes to meet the aspirations and needs of community.

  • focus our work on addressing the current and future needs of our clients, stakeholders, and community.


Resilient – we develop creative solutions and are adaptable

We help our clients to improve their life skills and adapt to change.  We work with our stakeholders and the community to develop innovative and responsive services and programmes

We plan to react effectively when business and environmental factors change unexpectedly.  We adjust our approach or actions in response to these changes.  We learn from our experiences and mistakes, and continually add value to our clients, stakeholders and the community.


Integrity – We keep our word

We, as leaders, know that honesty and integrity are the foundations of working with grass roots community. We do the right thing, at the right time to get the best results. 


Sustainable – We value people and resources

We support the ability of our clients and community to develop processes and structures, which not only meet current needs but also support the ability of future generations to maintain a healthy community.  We do this by:

  • Working with the whole system – clients, community and other organisations

  • Leading by example through our services and operations

  • Encouraging learning within our organisation and sharing knowledge and experience with clients, other organisations and the community

  • Interacting responsibly with the environment -  using household resources to reduce waste, create household savings and build healthy independent lives.​

Life Long Learning – Creating the ability to learn

We continually work to develop a strong and positive learning culture for our clients, staff and the community.

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