We have helped shape the lives of many.

Moana House is a residential therapeutic community in Dunedin, New Zealand which caters for male offenders. It is run by a charitable trust, the Downie Stewart Foundation, and has been in existence since 1987. It operates from an ordinary house in the suburbs, and can cater for up to 17 people at a time. The therapeutic community has a strong bicultural focus, and staff have a special responsibility to help residents individually and as a group, and the Foundation as a whole, to grow and develop. Our area of expertise is working with offenders. Those who come to the house have multiple difficulties - substance abuse, poor relationships, are victims or perpetrators of violence, physical or sexual, are underachievers, have poor work skills, and difficulties in setting and achieving goals. 

Where it all began

In 1984 the trustees gathered together, at the prompting of Mr Mike Martin, who had himself experienced considerable difficulty in the court system, and Mr JD Murray, who was a district court judge in Dunedin at the time, and the Moana House Programme was established. Claire Aitken, the Programme Director, has been in that position since 1987. The idea for the programme was loosely based around the Delancy Street Programme in SanFrancisco.

Both Mike and JD have now passed on, but their spirit continues to live in the programme at Moana House, Dunedin.


2010 Evaluation undertaken by alac

Please click on the heading above to read the full evaluation undertaken in 2010 by ALAC. This was the first comprehensive outcome-focused evaluation of the Moana House programme.  It is also the first independent outcome evaluation of any of the therapeutic communities operating in the addiction treatment sector or within the criminal justice context in New Zealand.   

2016 masters thesis by jacob ashdown

In 2016 Jacob Ashdown submitted the following thesis for a Master of Science at the University of Otago, Dunedin New Zealand. The aim of this study was to enhace our understanding of the lived experiences of Maori men who were participating in the Moana House residential therapeutic community rehabilitation programme. Click on the link below to read the full Thesis.

Maori Men's Perspectives of Rehabilitation in the Moana House Therapeutic Community: A Qualitative Enquiry