GandhiNivas helps reduce Family Harm in Auckland

ThreeHomes in four years with wrap-round 24/7 services


The concept of early intervention in Family Harm in the Indian community dates back to 2014, when a presentation was made to the Counties Manukau Police South Asian Advisory Board, outlining data for the previous year.

The statistical information showed that four in every 14 (29%) of death occurring due to family violence were Indians, and that 55% of people breached Police Safet Order (PSO), compared to 34% Pacific and 25% Maori.

The Indian community accounted for 4% of the total population in 2013.

The data also said that every five minutes, Police were called for a family violence incidents and that only 12% of the women (victims) made the call for help.

Need to make a difference

All of us were shocked and asked questions.

We are a group of community people from all different communities, religions (Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Sikh) from all walks of life and businesses.

With our different perspectives, we wanted to make a difference, and knew something was missing in our system.

The beginning

Gandhi Nivas was established in 2014 through a partnership with New Zealand Police, Sahaayta Counselling and Support Services, Serenity Foundation (Nirvana Foundation), Lotteries, Massey University and Total Healthcare PHO.

Ethnic Communities Minister Jenny Salesa with (from left) Senior Sergeant Sharon Price, Sucharita Varma, Gandhi Nivas Chairperson Ranjna Patel, Rakesh Naidoo and Mark Vela

Total Healthcare Chief Executive Mark Vella started the Project, enabling Counselling Services.

Gandhi Nivas is a 24/7, 365-day service, where men can cool down in emergency accommodation and get help to change their behaviour from trained Counsellors and Social workers, so that their families can stay in their own homes.

The families are also offered counselling and access to wrap-around services that aim to keep women and children safe.

Funding channels

In its first few year, Gandhi Nivas received funding from Lotteries, Total Healthcare PHO, Nirvana Health, Ministry of Social Development and public donations through a fundraiser.

The home was furnished with furniture, household items and appliances through public donations.

While the facility was established for men of Indian origin, in its second month, the Governance Board of Gandhi Nivas changed the entry criteria, opening its doors to all men.

We found that it worked for men of all ages, ethnicities, religions and economic background.

Massey University was a part of Gandhi Nivas since its inception and the evaluation at the end of the first year showed excellent results, the highlight of which was that 93% of men did not reoffend.

ACC Contribution

ACC Minister Iain Lees-Galloway officially opened the second Gandhi Nivas Home in Te Atatu (West Auckland) on August 16, 2018, while the third Home was inaugurated by Ethnic Communities Minister Jenny Salesa on September 7, 2018.

Each week, we are helping 20 to 25 men and their families with counselling and supporting them through issues that they may face.

In 2017, ACC contributed to the 24/7 Counselling Services for the Otahuhu home and this year towards the Te Atatu Home, which has enabled Sahaayta to provide comprehensive services with trained and qualified counsellors.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern advocated for the Gandhi Nivas service in her opening speech to the Government’s Criminal Justice Summit in August. 2018.

She mentioned the importance of early intervention and noted the Government’s investment in Gandhi Nivas and its services to families.

Keeping families safe

ACC provides funding to Gandhi Nivas as part of its Violence Prevention Strategy to reduce harm caused by violence at home.

Mr Vella said that the PHO contributes to Gandhi Nivas’ services because social, physical and mental wellbeing of families have a major impact on their health.

“Gandhi Nivas offers an innovative and holistic approach to preventing family violence and keeping women and children safe, and this PHO is committed to addressing as many determinants of health as possible, “ he said.

Ranjna Patel is the Chairperson of the Governance Board of Gandhi Nivas. For more information, please visit

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