Our history


A Baptist preacher, Reverend Birch, took in two children he found living in a barrel, and from there established the beginnings of what would eventually become a children’s home. In the early 20th century ownership of the the home was transferred to the Baptist Union of New Zealand.


The Baptist Union opened the Manurewa Children’s Home. Iosis is situated on part of the former home’s land. Our administration office was once the matron’s house, and our Family Learning Centre was the isolation unit for children with infectious diseases!


The Baptist City Mission was established in Mt Eden and grew to offer a range of services to help those in need.


The Domestic Purposes Benefit was introduced, providing struggling families with the financial support they had previously lacked and making it possible to keep children with their parents in the family home.


The Merivale Centre for Women and Families was officially opened, offering emergency accommodation for mothers and children. It later became known as the Merivale Women’s Refuge.


Baptist Family Services was established. The first social worker was employed and, as a result, other new operations began. These included Counselling, Parent Support and, in the late 1990s, the Supervised Contact Centre.


The Children Youth and Families Act of 1989 moved to put children in foster homes rather than orphanages. The Manurewa Children’s Home closed as a result.


The Domestic Violence Act led to an increase in work at Merivale as over 120 families a year were housed short term and established in the community in safe accommodation.


Iosis was incorporated on 17 March, amalgamating Merivale Women's Refuge, Baptist City Mission and Baptist Family Services. Iosis adopted a fresh vision and created an agency for families facing complex challenges. Merivale later became a therapeutic residential parenting programme called the Merivale Whānau Development Centre.


Iosis creates a Māori Development Leader role to build relationships with local iwi and other important stakeholders, and develop new programmes that will more effectively meet the needs of Māori whānau.


Merivale Whānau Development Centre is renamed Iosis Whānau Centre to more closely identify the residential parenting programme with Iosis’s other work.


Iosis works with families from across South Auckland. We continue to offer innovative services and programmes to help families transform their family life for good.