The original idea …

… for the development of an organisation that was Community Owned, Community Driven was first mooted around 1980, by the Citizens Advice Bureau, who thought that having a social service and welfare group established could only help the South Waikato Community.

They believed (and rightly so) that Tokoroa and the South Waikato was in need of an organisation that could support the needs of families, and to ensure that their needs were brought to the attention of those groups, organisations and agencies that could assist in making a difference to their lives.

They felt that the South Waikato could benefit from a wider network, so they became an affiliated organisation of the New Zealand Council of Social Services, hence TCOSS’ name of the Tokoroa Council of Social Services.

TCOSS was formalised on 19 September 1991.  With this came the employment of a Community Development Worker for the South Waikato, Mrs Patricia Seymour.  Pat started with:

  • No office
  • No phone
  • No car
  • No pens or paper

And a Board Member wrote a personal cheque so that TCOSS could be solvent!

A strong bond was also developed with the Tokoroa Borough Council, who then became the South Waikato District Council.  This bond has continued with the South Waikato District Council supporting TCOSS and the Community Centre.

TCOSS established itself in the Tokoroa Community Centre, based at Maureen Seipolt Reserve.  There were a number of groups who became tenants (·) of the Centre as well as holding meetings (*) there, they were:

  • TCOSS Community Worker
  • TCOSS Community Office Worker
  • TCOSS Health Coordinator
  • South Waikato Maori Wardens
  • Sexual Abuse Support Group
  • South Waikato Young Persons Trust
  • Community Youth Affairs
  • Lumanai’i Tamaiti Samoa – Pre-school Group
  • South Waikato Men for Non Violence
  • Tokoroa Photographic Society
  • Youth Boxing Club
  • Karaka Pre-school Group
  • *Narcotics Anonymous
  • *SPCA
  • *Tenancy Tribunal
  • *Tokoroa Adoption Support
  • *Ulysses Motorcycle Club

 

Tragedy struck in February 1996, when the Community Centre burnt down.  During this time Tokoroa and the South Waikato Community once again proved why this District is such a fantastic place to be, with offers of condolences, support and assistance, as well as donating office equipment and furniture to the now homeless Community Centre tenants.

The South Waikato District Council generously offered its services and office space to TCOSS, whilst TCOSS and the South Waikato District Council searched for a new building to house the Community Centre.  The search was quick and relatively painless, with the Waikato DHB offering the use of one of its unused wards.

So in March 1996 TCOSS and services moved into the new Community Centre based at Ward Three, Tokoroa Hospital.  A special TCOSS Open Forum was held on 4 April 1996, to acknowledge and thank the Tokoroa Community for their support and assistance

The tenants of the Centre as at 31 May 1996 were:

  • South Waikato Maori Wardens
  • South Waikato Young Persons Trust
  • South Waikato Men for Non-Violence Trust
  • Aitutaki Enua Trust of New Zealand
  • Karaka Playgroup
  • Lumanai’i Tamaiti O Samoa
  • Tokoroa Arts Society
  • South Waikato Sexual Abuse Agency
  • South Waikato Camera Club
  • Tokoroa Unity Singers
  • TCOSS Manager
  • TCOSS Community Office Worker
  • TCOSS Health Coordinator
  • TCOSS Homebuilders Family Support Service
  • Parents As First Teachers
  • *Narcotics Anonymous
  • *Ulysses Motorcycle Club
  • *Brides Fellowship

 

This turned out to be only a temporary measure, with the Community Centre moving into Tulloch House (the old Nurses Home) in December 1997, with the official opening in February 1998.

Before the move to Tulloch House we said a sad farewell to groups such as the South Waikato Young Persons Trust, South Waikato Maori Wardens, Aitutaki Enua Trust of New Zealand, Lumanai’i Tamaiti O Samoa, South Waikato Sexual Abuse Agency and the South Waikato Camera Club.  But we also welcomed – South Waikato Safer Community Council, Relationship Services, Stephanie Leney-Smith, Open Home Foundation, Manu Ole Tuasiva Support, an ADD Coffee Group and the TCOSS Hearing Therapist.

In the 18 years since that move the Community Centre has seen a lot of changes with groups coming and going such as:

  • Tokoroa PARS
  • Open Home Foundation
  • Parents As First Teachers
  • Tokoroa Adult Reading Assistance Group
  • The Salvation Army Oasis Centre – Treatment for Problem Gambling
  • Raukawa Health – IFAS clinic
  • South Waikato Camera Club
  • Royal New Zealand Plunket Society Lakes King Country
  • Tokoroa/Taupo Sexual Assault Counselling Service
  • Business and Professional Women Tokoroa
  • Mary Wilson – Independent Counsellor
  • Lindsay Fergusson Independent Midwife
  • ACC
  • NSAD Care Ltd – who are now known as CARE NZ
  • Raukawa Trust Board – Health Unit and Te Ariki Mana
  • Tokoroa Branch of New Zealand Society of Genealogists
  • Cath Siely – Independent Counsellor
  • South Waikato Attendance Service
  • Stroke Foundation Midland Region
  • Jenny Manuera-Jones – Independent Counsellor
  • Linda Tiro – Independent Counsellor
  • Malcolm Skinner – Independent Counsellor
  • Faye Garrood – Independent Counsellor

TCOSS has also undergone a number of changes, since it was first conceived and has moved from a force of one to now having 15+ staff (which you can read about in Services).  We have also had the privilege of having dedicated Community-minded people, join the TCOSS family and agree to be members of the governing Executive Committee.

Some of the past members of the Executive Committee of the Tokoroa Council of Social Services have been such Tokoroa stalwarts as Jim Elder, Bev Elder, Barbara Wylie, Elaine Lau, Bev Sturgeon, Kaye Walls, Harry Shaw, Trish Soundy, Leslie Tatham, Marylynn Elliott, Robin Stewart, Maxine Diffey, Mii Teokotai, Roger and Heather Savill, Marc and Stephanie Leney-Smith, Anthony Clarke, Vicki Macaan, Arama Ngapo-Lipscombe, Tracey Pollett, Margaret and Roger Emerson, Waiora Seymour, Chris Bailey, Jean Edwards, Jeanette van der Wal, Nina Rangi, Kirsty Trueman, Dean Ria and Jane Chittenden.

A list of our current Executive is also available on our website, showing what parts of the community they represent.

So in the past 30+ years TCOSS has grown in leaps and bounds with the range of services it offers, which can be read about in Services.