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Mission driven leader, Helen Robinson

Updated: May 8

Helen Robinson, the Auckland City Missioner, recently shared insights into her career and the Mission's commitment to helping people with the greatest needs with Purposely.

Rising from the ranks, Helen assumed the role of CEO in April 2021, succeeding Chris Farrelly as the Missioner leading the Auckland City Mission.

Growing up in Johnsonville, Wellington, amongst a family of five, Helen describes her upbringing as one filled with love and warmth. Inspired by her parents' extraordinary leadership within their community, she embarked on a path dedicated to serving others. With a background in youth development and a law degree under her belt, Helen's journey led her to work internationally in Ethiopia and to obtain a master's degree in social and community leadership, focusing on researching food insecurity.

Currently overseeing 240 staff members across various services including housing, food, health, and social services, Helen acknowledges the immense responsibility she holds. She emphasises the importance of meditation in managing the demands of her role, finding solace in the serene surroundings of her New Lynn home.

Helen's professional journey has been marked by her dedication to addressing social issues in New Zealand. With significant experience in community development, she has worked with marginalised populations and led initiatives to combat homelessness and food insecurity. Her tenure as the General Manager of Social Services at Auckland City Mission saw notable improvements in service delivery, aimed at providing dignified support to those in need.

In addition to her practical work, Helen has contributed to research on food insecurity in New Zealand and played a pivotal role in initiatives like Kore Hiakai, striving towards a food-secure Aotearoa. Her academic background in law and social policy, coupled with her deep understanding of social issues, underscores her commitment to justice and equity.

Founded in response to the aftermath of World War I and the Spanish flu epidemic, Auckland City Mission has a long-standing history of community service devoid of prejudice. From helping individuals battling addiction to offering assistance during the AIDS crisis, the Mission remains steadfast in its ethos of inclusivity.

The recent completion of HomeGround—a $100 million facility—marks a significant milestone in the Mission's journey. Serving as a central community hub, HomeGround provides permanent housing, healthcare services, addiction support, and a welcoming environment for all individuals and families in need.

The profound impact of the Mission's work is evident in the countless individuals and families it assists annually, offering vital services ranging from food assistance to residential care. Guided by Helen's leadership, the Mission remains dedicated to its pursuit of justice and hope amidst the challenges posed by poverty and disadvantage.


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