50 years of community support
Interactionz has been active in the community for the past 50 years. The organisation has undergone signification evolution since it was first incorporated as the Waikato branch of the Disabled Citizens’ Society in 1967.
The first change was in 1970, when the organisation established a sheltered workshop in Peachgrove Road, Hamilton East, where members undertook contract work for local businesses. Over time the workshop grew.
Then in 1976 an additional training centre was established in Bryant Rd, Te Rapa, where people gained woodwork and metal work skills, with the aim of getting jobs in the community. In 1985 the organisation changed its name to Hamilton Sheltered Workshops and Training Centre to align with the opening of its purpose-built workshop premises in Sunshine Avenue, Te Rapa.
A change of philosophy
A major philosophical change took place in 2000, with the two workshops merging on the Sunshine Avenue site. There was another name change, this time to Lifestyle 2000. In 2003 contract work stopped and the transition to providing vocational services began. Becoming a charitable trust in 2005, Lifestyle Trust embraced the philosophy of inclusion. The organisation has been developing and refining the way it supports people ever since.
In 2007 three community centres were established in suburban Hamilton, the hub moved to Dinsdale and the industrial Sunshine Avenue site was sold, in a move to bring the organisation and its people closer to the local community.
Focusing on mentoring – a person-driven approach
In June 2009, the trading name Interactionz was adopted to better reflect the way we work with people to assist them and of the importance we place on person-driven relationships. In this vein, Interactionz invested two years of research, both nationally and globally, to understand how a person-driven approach would look in practice and develop the necessary tools to support it.
As a result, mentoring by Interactionz became about upskilling and empowering a person, with the objective of reducing long-term dependency. The emphasis also became assisting people to become more actively included citizens in their community, rather than being supported in disability-specific environments.
Interactionz is now able to support individuals from a diverse range of backgrounds and abilities within the community, ensuring that they get the assistance they need to help them achieve what they want to in their lives.
Transitioning to a social enterprise
In 2016 Interactionz began its formal transition from charity to social enterprise and developed new commercial opportunities and services to work with businesses and organisations.
Our aim is to become a sustainable business that is able to continue to deliver services within the community, without reliance on funding, and to continue to live true to our mission.