Polytech students holding Moana House open day

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Facility on show . . . Otago Polytechnic students (from left) Kayla Woodcock, of Northland, Rachel Dooling, of Dunedin, Theresa Arthur, of Marlborough, Tammy Prescott, of Dunedin, Daniel Crichton, of Auckland, and Michael Abbott, of Wellington, are set to hold an open day at Moana House tomorrow. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

Visit Moana House in Dunedin tomorrow to see how it turns lives around – that’s what a former resident says.

Michael Abbott (34) is one of eight students studying towards a certificate in health and wellbeing at Otago Polytechnic.

As part of a community project assignment, the students are holding a public open day tomorrow at Moana House, which offers a support service for men with alcohol and drug problems and a history of offending.

Two of the students – Mr Abbott and Daniel Crichton (49) – recently graduated from the Moana House programme.

The open day was designed to raise awareness of the work in the house, Mr Abbott said.

“The work the guys do here at the whare is massive – they change lives on a regular basis. People come here with backgrounds of utter disorder and chaos and they get the opportunity to turn their lives around.”

Moana House had changed his life, he said.

“I’d never in a million years thought I’d be studying at polytech – I thought I’d just be in jail. To be able to come to Moana House and work some stuff out and create a plan and a future is massive.”

People attending the open day would learn about aspects of Moana House, including its culture, work programmes, therapy groups and the positive impact it had on people’s lives.

“There is all these different aspects that make up the house and we are trying to show them off.”

Moana House programme director Claire Aitken said it was the first time Moana House had collaborated with the polytechnic to hold an open day.

“It seemed like a good thing to do.”

The open day at Moana House, at 401 High St, is from 10am to 3pm tomorrow.