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Boystown to Youthtown

Our youth development philosophy and, in particular, our sports programme goes right back to 1932. This is when Boystown was established, providing a sports and leisure facility for Auckland's young people that included mentoring by some New Zealand greats. In 1984, Boystown was renamed Youthtown in recognition of the increasing number of young women using the facilities.

Since then, Youthtown has continued to empower young New Zealanders to be the best they can be, by expanding into key communities across New Zealand. This means that Youthtown is even more accessible to young people than ever before.

  • Arthur Husband at Nelson St Boystown
  • Mayoress Barbara Goodman at the Trampothon
  • Youthtown Boystown group
  • Youthtown Junior weightlifting club, late 1980s
  • Youthtown Trampoline group
  • Youthtown pool
  • A historic photo of a Youthtown hosted basketball game
Our Journey
1932
Bill Dervan opens hotel basement as a boys’ boxing gym.
1934
After growing popularity Bill closes gym and the Boystown boys who had been attending relocate to the Community Sunshine Club on Nelson Street.
1944
The Boystown boys relocate to a gym in a tin shed on the top of Parnell Rise which was to remain Boystown’s home for the next 19 years.
1950s
Auckland Police recognize the importance of the club to crime prevention and get involved and rename it Boystown Police and Citizens Club.
1961
American millionaire Clement Stone offered £30,000 for a new building for Boystown if the public can match it.
1967
Part of the new Nelson Street building, acquired from the Community Sunshine Group, opens to the public.
1968
With a gathering of 800 people Boystown on Nelson Street officially opens.
1984
Inspirational leader Doug McConnell was appointed Executive Director.
1986
In recognition of the large number of girls and young women using the Nelson Street facilities Boystown was renamed Youthtown.
1992
Youthtown Nelson Street further develops its facilities with the establishment of a Learning Centre with $200,000 provided by the Paykel Family Trusts.
1994
Youthtown’s facility continues to receive upgrades with the addition of a sliding roof over the pool area, turning the pool into an all-year facility.
2011
Youthtown host 500 youth from Christchurch for the Youthtown’s “Break from the Quake” camps, to provide a break for youth affected by the earthquakes.