Kaikoura Star - Kaikoura's health centre proves community collaboration is alive and well

Columns
Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The new Kaikoura Health Te Ha o Te Ora centre is an absolute triumph to the community.

It is because of your hard work, perseverance and dedication that this state-of-the-art, modern facility exists.

I was very pleased to attend the official opening of the $13.4 million family health centre last week, along with Health Minister Jonathan Coleman, Kaikoura Mayor Winston Gray and representatives from the Canterbury District Health Board and Te Runanga o Kaikoura.

It was great to see more than 400 people at the opening, which shows how invested the community is in this important project.

The centre's integrated services and care means less costly, time-consuming and stressful travel for patients to larger hospitals.

Now, patients have access to a wide range of health services right on their doorstep, thanks in part to the ability to hold real-time consultations with health specialists in Christchurch by video link.

What this health centre shows, besides a highly progressive and innovative model, is what a community can do for itself.

The people of Kaikoura have rallied together to raise an impressive $3.4 million, on top of the Government's $10 million contribution to the centre.

I was pleased to see the Kaikoura District Council's support of the project by underwriting that figure and so far, $1.5 million has been raised, co-ordinated by chairman of the Kaikoura Integrated Health Facility Charitable Trust, Joe van Rooyen.

People like Joe and his team are truly the gems of society. They are the people who don't sit around talking about things, they just get on and do it.

Raising this kind of money is a huge feat, particularly for a community of Kaikoura's size.

I would say that most, if not all, of Kaikoura's residents have pitched in to create this health centre in some way.

One example was the Community Op Shop opened by Barbara Duncan, Lynda Scott and Belinda Rickerby. This was something that many members of the community contributed to, both by donating products and as customers, and in the process they raised a massive $100,000.

There were donations from community groups like the Lions and public fundraising events.

I have had the privilege of touring the new health centre a couple of times and I must say that the building itself is attractive, dare I say inviting; not words often associated with a hospital.

The plants grown by Kaikoura's five primary schools - planted with the help of a tonne of potting mix from Kaikoura Nurseries - are not only another sign of community involvement, but look great against that classic Kaikoura view.

Kaikoura, you have done yourself proud. The Kaikoura Health Te Ha o Te Ora centre is an investment by your community, for your community, that will serve your people well.