Our Story

We are a not-for-profit organisation that provides the skills, tools and encouragement, to support youth futures.

We've been doing it for over 90 years and we're not done yet!

Youthtown is a proud and uniquely Kiwi institution that has been operating since 1932. 

Back then the Great Depression was in full swing. With a wave of mass unemployment spreading across the nation, protests and riots erupted as the frustration of not being able to provide spread and the speed of progress took it's toll on a desperate workforce and it's dependents. 

Amidst the backdrop of this extraordinary time, a small boxing gym opened in Parnell, Auckland. Designed to get boys off the street and into learning a new skill. 'Boystown' was a partnership between the Police and community business people.

As the years passed, that small gym turned into an iconic sports and leisure facility on Nelson Street: a second home to many young people across the city. Boystown management sensibly recognised that a name change would mirror this universal sense of belonging their clientele were feeling about the place, growing with the times to become ‘Youthtown’. From this launchpad, Youthtown spaces opened across the North and South Islands to extend the experience to more communities.

This is where we are at today. Though our Nelson Street home is sadly now no more, some of the original programme staff from those days still work nationally to help every new Youthtown team member understand our history, memories and impact as we create each new programme space for children and young people across our many communities.