The Supported Life Style Hauraki Trust was started in 1994 by Peter Rutherford and Murray Lynds.
Peter had been working in the psychopedic institutes of both NZ and Australia and felt strongly that there had to be a better way of providing services to people with different abilities. Murray’s background was in management.
Thames was considered an ideal location, at that time, as a town that had the right kind of scale and plenty of available property. Creating social cohesion is part of the suite of values which have always been an important ‘lens’ that helps inform the way the Trust operates.
The Trust Deed has two clear objectives:
a) The provision of quality support services for people with impairments and/or people who are disadvantaged; and
b) The promotion and maintenance of the personal and cultural identity of those persons and to assist them to achieve maximum physical, psychological and spiritual wellbeing.
In its early days, the Trust concentrated on working with men with challenging behaviours. Peter and Murray recognised early on that often these so-called challenging behaviours were an attempt at communication. Learning to understand what the person was asking for or communicating and then offering real choices was the underpinning of the Trust philosophy from the beginning. The Trust expanded its previously all male population with the first woman moving into the Trust in 2004. From relatively small beginnings the Trust now provides services to around 89 people who are being supported in a range of ways.