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Innovative health and wellbeing hub opens

Thursday, 1 March 2018 2:03pm

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Komene Cassidy from the Centre for Māori Development, University of Otago, addresses the crowd at the Te Kāika opening yesterday.

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Te Runanga o Ōtākou chair Donna Matahaere-Atariki and Ngai Tahu kaiwhakahaere Lisa Tumahai unveil the plaque outside Te Kāika.

A new iwi-driven health village for Māori, Pasifika and low-income families in the Dunedin area, and focusing on affordable, high quality health and social services, officially opened its doors yesterday.

Around 200 people attended the opening of Te Kāika, which aims to deliver a number of health and wellbeing services for Māori, Pasifika and low income families. It is situated in the former College Street School in Caversham, Dunedin.

The initiative, which has been three years in the making, aims to inspire other areas to take up a hub-based model of health services.

Te Runanga o Otakou chair Donna Matahaere-Atariki, one of the founders of Te Kāika, emphasised Te Kāika would embody both health and wellbeing services.

“This is about being really pragmatic and saying people live complex lives, and we need to be able to respond to that complexity without freaking out about it,” Ms Matahaere-Atariki said.

“Given the group we were focused on were those historically underserved by those institutions, it wasn’t about doing things for people – it was about creating an environment to help people make their own decisions.”

Among those at the opening was former Whanau Ora minister Dame Tariana Turia, who praised Te Kāika for being an inspirational model of collaboration.

"This is about being really pragmatic and saying people live complex lives, and we need to be able to respond to that complexity..."

“In many ways what you’re doing is reflecting on the foundational essence of your community, and identifying the diverse strains that make us this village, and that is something to be proud of,” Dame Turia told the crowd.

“Te Kāika is exactly what we intended for Whanau Ora.”

The services at the former School buildings include a primary health care service (Te Mataora), which provides affordable GP and dental services.

The University of Otago will also use the centre to train a number students from across the Health Sciences schools, including medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and physiotherapy.

The University’s Pro-Vice Chancellor (Health Sciences) Professor Peter Crampton told the crowd there were a number of key benefits for all parties.

“The University of Otago is very proud, and humbled, to be a partner in this initiative led by Ngāi Tahu,” Professor Crampton said.

“And let me remind everyone again why Te Kāika is important – because we aim to provide a range of high quality health and social services to support whanau, Pacific families and low income families in Dunedin in order for them to be in control of, and in charge of, their lives.”

"The University of Otago is very proud, and humbled, to be a partner in this initiative led by Ngāi Tahu."

Professor Crampton also paid tribute to Otākou Rūnanga chair Donna Matahaere-Atariki and Albie Laurence, who he described as the intellectual architects of Te Kāika.

Te Kāika is a partnership between Arai Te Uru Whare Hauora, Te Rūnanga o Ōtākou, and the University of Otago. It is run by Otakou Health Limited (OHL), a charity founded in 2015 aimed at bringing affordable health and wellbeing services to Dunedin.

Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu (the South Island Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency) has provided funding for start-up and infrastructural costs, while Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu has also strongly supported the project.

Te Kāika will provide opportunities to use existing funding in ways that match the needs of whānau and low-income families.

Initially focused in the Dunedin south area, it is expected to attract families from across the city.