We’re bidding farewell to Stephen Phillips MNZM.
Stephen helped guide Ōtautahi Community Housing Trust from its inception until his retirement in June.
He was among the first four independent trustees appointed to form the new Trust board in December 2015.
From then-on, he was part of an “exciting journey” that saw the Trust grow from having staff of one – current chief executive Cate Kearney – through to having a team of 50 by early 2022.
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That growth happened organically once the trustees hammered-out their Trust deed and reached an agreement to lease the Christchurch City Council’s social housing.
The Deed of Lease and the transfer of $50 million in land from the council to capitalise the Trust lay the foundations for success.
“The Trust has been hugely successful and to be a part of that journey with the team has been wonderful,” Stephen says.
“Cate and the team have been truly great to work with. It was a pleasure to participate in the meetings.”
The Trust manages more than 2400 tenancies in more than 100 communities across Christchurch and Banks Peninsula.
Among them are new developments that Stephen watched move from an idea to detailed papers, through to building and opening.
ŌCHT opened its first development at Louisson Place, Opawa, in January 2019. It’s delivered more than 220 homes in 11 communities since then.
Stephen says the redevelopment of what used to be Brougham Village into three interconnected communities proved a standout project.
The project to build Korimako, Karoro and Hoiho lanes was the biggest and among the most innovative undertaken by the Trust.
The lanes provide 90 Homestar 6-rated homes to individuals couples and families.
They’re also home to new initiatives, including a ride-share electric vehicle project and expandable e-car infrastructure, encouraged by the board.
Stephen’s also had a hand in the decisions supporting ŌCHT’s moves into employment and digital coaching.
ŌCHT had further demonstrated itself to be an innovative community housing provider.
“The feedback I’ve had from friends and colleagues has been excellent, they’re very impressed with the Trust’s work.”
Stephen was last year made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to seniors and the community.
He was Age Concern Canterbury chief executive from 2008 to 2012 and vice president of Age Concern New Zealand since 2020.
He was a national board member from 2017 and a Canterbury board member from 2014.
Stephen’s MNZM recognsied his work empowering older people by establishing, promoting and supporting initiatives to improve the quality of services.
This focus contributed to a special interest in the wellbeing and safety of our elder community and also underpinned his work and contribution at the Trust.
Cate says Stephen contributed at a significant time for the fledgling and growing Trust.
“Stephen been a Trustee from the start and always asked the question no one else considered.
“He’s been a wise steward.”
We wish you well Stephen.
Thank you for your valuable contributions and dedication to Ōtautahi Community Housing Trust.
Published June 23, 2022