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History


1964
January 18

Beginnings

Beginnings
The Christchurch Methodist Community Mission Superintendent Rev W. A. Falkingham was studying social work programmes in Australia and discovered that Sydney was preparing to launch a Telephone Ministry using a name coined from the newspaper ‘ a Life Line for Sydney’.
June 30

The First Call

The First Call
Geof Hill took the first New Zealand Life Line call, answering the call to 32-370 with the words “This is Life Line. May we help you?”
July 1

Lifeline Christchurch Launched

Lifeline Christchurch Launched
On 1st July Lifeline Christchurch was officially launched to provide personal and telephone counselling to those in need and services the Mid and North Canterbury regions, Kaikoura, Christchurch city, and the West Coast.
October 17

Early beginnings of Lifeline Auckland

In Auckland, a group of ministers of various denominations, driven by Dr D.O. Williams met together to organise a counselling centre in the new Methodist building on Queen Street.
1965
May 17

The Interchurch Counselling Centre opened

Based on Queen Street, the office operated with a face to face team, and an outreach team for people in crisis. It was then decided to incorporate a telephone counselling service to be known as the Samaritan Lifeline in Auckland.
1966
February 21

Auckland Lifeline opens

With 80 volunteer telephone counsellors, it covered the free calling area of greater Auckland, and the Hibiscus Coast.
December 17

Lifeline Christchurch became a 24hour service

Lifeline Christchurch became a 24hour service
1967
November 17

Lifeline Invercargill established

Later adopted the name ‘Southland’.
1970
July 17

Lifeline Hawkes Bay established

Based in Taradale about halfway between Napier and Hastings and covered the free-calling area of Hawkes Bay. Originally there were Centres in both Napier and Hastings.
1971
January 17

The surviving loss by homicide group was started in Auckland

March 17

Youthline begins

Sponsored by Lifeline to cater for the needs of young people up to the age of 25. A team of 26 people aged 18-25 provided help to other young people struggling with dilemmas of adolescence.
1972
October 17

Lifeline Whangarei opens

Lifeline Whangarei opened a helpline and face to face service and covered the largely urban area of Whangarei, and financed a free-phone service from Wellsford in the south, through Cape Reinga in the north, and across to both the east and west coasts.
1974
March 17

Lifeline Nelson established

Servicing the free calling area of Nelson; provided a free-phone service from Murchison in the South to Collingwood in the North West.
1975
February 17

Rev W.A Falkingham honoured with an M.B.E

In her birthday honours, the Queen honoured the founder of Lifeline Christchurch Rev W.A Falkingham with an M.B.E for his work in the social services field.
1977
March 17

Christchurch approach changed

Christchurch redirected their approach to prevention rather than assistance after client suicide numbers increased.
May 17

Auckland Lifeline moves to Airedale Street

Lifeline Auckland moved to new premises at the ‘open circle’ on Airedale Street. For the first time the Face to Face service and the Telephone helplines where combined into the same building.
September 17

Dr D.O. Williams given O.B.E

The founder of Auckland Lifeline was given the  O.B.E for his work.
1981
April 17

Lifeline Pukekohe established

October 17

Christchurch gets third line and teleprinter service

A third line was installed in Christchurch and Lifeline began a Teleprinter service linking the profoundly deaf with the hearing world.
1982
June 17

Rev W. Falkingham retired

Upon his retirement there was 8 Lifeline centres in New Zealand which where a direct result of his foresight.
October 17

Lifeline South Canterbury established

Based in Timaru.
1983
July 17

Teleprinter line introduced

Enabling the Auckland Lifeline counsellors to attend to the many practical problems on behalf of the deaf community.
1984
February 17

Lifeline Marlborough established

Located in Blenheim and covered the free-calling area that extended from Kekerengu to the south, the Rai Valley in the west, and the Marlborough Sounds to the north.
1986
January 17

Lifeline Wairarapa established

Based in Masterton, the centre was originally known as South Wairarapa, and was based in Carterton, but dropped ‘South’ when the Samaritan centre in Masterton closed. Covered as far north as Eketahuna, and as far south as Featherston, and all the towns in between.
December 9

Dr D.O. Williams of Auckland Lifeline passed away

1988
June 27

Kidsline begins

Kidsline begins
Kidsline began in Auckland for children aged between 9- and 13 to call between the hours of 4pm and 6pm.
1990
February 17

Lifeline Auckland moves

Auckland Lifeline moved into rent free space provided by Presbyterian Support Northern at 95 Great South Road, Remuera where it is still located today.
1992
January 17

Lifeline Waikato established

Located in Hamilton and serviced the Greater Waikato, King Country, Thames, Coromandel and Bay of Plenty – including both small urban and rural communities.
1993
March 1

Chinese Lifeline began

Offering limited hour’s service in Cantonese and Mandarin based in the Auckland centre.
July 17

Lifeline Tairawhiti established

Based in Gisborne and closed down 12 months later.
1996
September 17

Lifeline Otago Established

Based in Dunedin.
1998
January 17

Gambling helpline launched

Lifeline launched a 24 hour helpline for problem gamblers
March 17

Lifeline Auckland gets PTE Status

Lifeline Auckland was provided with PTE status (NZQA Accreditation as a private training establishment)
1999
February 17

Kidsline opens in Christchurch

Christchurch Lifeline opened its 0800 Kidsline service in line with the Auckland Centre.
2001
August 17

Lifeline Southland ceased to be a member of Lifeline NZ

2002
March 17

Chinese Lifeline gets national 0800 number

Chinese Lifeline gets national 0800 number
2004
February 17

Lifeline Pukekohe closes

December 17

Lifeline Otago closed

2005
April 17

FAC’s 211 line commences

FAC’s 211 Line began in Bay of Plenty with Youthline as pilot (MSD Funded), incorporating SHINE, and Family Violence Information Line.
September 17

Lifeline South Canterbury closed

2006
July 17

National Depression Initiative contract awarded to Auckland

This included the National Depression Helpline & future services that will offer text, emails, phone and web chat modalities.
2009
January 17

Suicide prevention education programmes adapted

Livingworks Suicide Prevention education programmes adapted and delivered nationally to include bi-cultural content.
March 17

New contracts introduced

Warmline (ADHB Contract) & Victims of Crime line introduced to Auckland.
2010
August 17

MSD fund the Canterbury Earthquake Support Line

October 17

Christchurch Lifeline opens email counselling services

2011
April 17

Suicide Crisis Helpline Launched

Suicide Crisis Helpline Launched
Launch of 0508 TAUTOKO (Lifeline funded service with media campaign through Maori Television aimed at Maori population).
2012
October 17

Auckland office refurbished

ASB Community Trust funds a full refurbishment of Great South Road offices.
October 17

Prison Helpline pilot

Three month pilot for ‘Prison Helpline’ partnership with Northern Region corrections Facility.
2013
April 1

Lifeline launch rebranding

Lifeline Logo
July 1

ACC contract awarded

Face to Face services awarded Sensitive Claims ACC contract for services in 5 regions.
December 23

Lifeline merge

Eight of the nine Lifeline affiliated offices merge to form one single Lifeline Aotearoa with a support head office in Great South Road. These include Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Hawkes Bay, Taranaki, Wairarapa, Marlborough and Christchurch. One single telephony and database platform are established. Lifeline Nelson vote to stay independent and..Read More
2015
April 1

Chinese Lifeline closes

June 1

Lifeline Whangarei closes

2016
February 6

NZQA Approved Programme for Kidsline

Kidsline launched NZQA Approved Gateway Youth Development Programme in Christchurch.
May 12

Christchurch branch moves premises

June 17

Radical restructure announced

All branches except Waikato, Christchurch and Auckland close. Kidsline restructure with minimised team, and funding situation (1 year reserve), made public.
July 1

Wairarapa & Taranaki branches closed

December 1

Lifeline merge with Presbyterian Support Northern (PSN)

Lifeline merge with Presbyterian Support Northern (PSN)
One of the largest non-government organisations in the health and social service sector, PSN, committed to 18 months of operational support while looking to also help solve Lifeline’s long-term funding issues.
2018
March 21

Text support launched

Text Launch
Lifeline launched its free text support service – HELP (4357) as part of its suicide prevention strategy to increase access to support for people in distress.