Our Story

Our story began over 100 years ago, it’s about helping people change for the good of their family.


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 an orphanage in Manurewa.


The current Administration office was once the Matron’s home, and the Family Learning Centre was once used as the orphanage's 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.


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.


Children Youth and Families Act of 1989 moved to put children in foster homes rather than orphanages.
The Manurewa Children’s home* closed and the work was moved into family homes with caregivers. By then Merivale was established in Epsom as emergency accommodation for women and children, operating under the Baptist City Mission. In time it became an independent operation under Baptist Social Services, with a primary focus on women and children fleeing situations of family violence.

*For historical information and queries about the Manurewa Children’s Home please email  childrenstrust@baptist.org.nz


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.


Merivale moved to Mangere.


Iosis was formed 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.


Iosis is proudly located on the former orphanage site in Manurewa. Innovative services and programmes have been established to give all families the opportunity to parent well. Iosis continues to run the Merivale residential programme for mothers and children in Mangere, and extends into Papakura with social workers in many primary and secondary schools.

Over the last 100 years we have changed the lives of many families, but our work is far from done. Families today are more vulnerable than ever. Our priority of working with those families where destructive patterns of behaviour can lead to long-term damage and intergenerational patterns of harm continues to be our focus. However, we see a growing need to increase awareness of the importance of the family unit to society and what it takes to raise a strong family as being in everyone’s best interest.

Ruby Duncan, Founding CEO

We're Proud Of

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Our Families

The challenges they overcome for the good of their children and the positive lives they go on to lead.
Read Danielle’s story


Our Approach

Experiential learning is the foundation for our work with families.
Read about our work

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Our Foster Carers

Whose hearts are in the right place, and make the world of difference to the children they care for.
Read Anne’s story

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Our Supporters

Our loyal donors and supporters enable us to help more parents change for the good of their families.
Read how you can support Iosis