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New $12M Wellness & Diagnostic Centre Opens In Hamilton ‘Disrupting The Historic Continuum’ For Māori

Published: Mon 15 Apr 2024 08:43 AM
Lady Tureiti Moxon, Managing Director of Te Kōhao Health at the site of the Wellness and Diagnostic Centre in Enderley (Photo: supplied)
The 6-year journey by Māori living their tino rangatiratanga over their own health through building their own multi-million-dollar solution is finally being realised on Monday 15 April at 10am.
Kiingi Tuheitia Pootatau Te Wherowhero VII will officially open the $12 million Te Kōhao Health, Wellness and Diagnostic Centre located in the heart of the Enderley community in East Hamilton.
According to tikanga, the name of the whare will not be known until the plaque is unveiled by the Kiingi Tuheitia.
The minister for Whānau Ora, the Hon.Tama Potaka, the CE of Te Aka Whai Ora Riana Manuel, and Members of Parliament from Te Pāti Māori including Hana-Rawhiti Maipi-Clarke (Hauraki-Waikato) and Mariameno Kapa-Kingi (Te Tai Tokerau) who was the former Chair of Te Kōhao Health, are among the dignitaries attending.
On average Māori have the poorest health status of any ethnic group in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Māori are twice as likely to face discrimination in health and less likely to be referred for diagnostic tests.
“It is critical that Māori are seen when they need to be seen and diagnosed early, because Māori are more than twice as likely to die from preventable diseases. The five biggest killers of Māori are cardiovascular disease, bowel, lung, breast, and cervical cancers,” Lady Tureiti said.
“We need to be proactive in prevention, and move away from constantly being in crisis mode, which has been the habitual pattern concerning our people for decades.”
Te Kōhao Health is hoping to change these outcomes by disrupting the historic continuum.
“Currently there are those who are lucky enough who occupy the front of the line, getting seen and diagnosed so their issues are solved early, and then there are those who are at the back of the line until they are admitted to accident and emergency at the hospital, and only then they get the treatment they should.”
Kiingitanga Spokesman Ngira Simmonds says Kiingi Tuheitia was honoured to open the new facility, which will address longstanding health inequities for Maaori.
“As the King said during the Covid pandemic, the health and wellbeing of the people is paramount, and this is the sort of initiative we need to look after our people.”
Pacific Radiology (part of RHCNZ Medical Imaging Group), Te Aka Whai Ora and Te Whatu Ora have joined in partnership with Te Kōhao Health to bring the seamless service to the area.
“This type of collective private and public integrated solution is different to what is happening right now. Yet it’s what needs to happen going forward into the future,” Lady Tureiti said.
RHCNZ Medical Imaging Group CEO Terry McLaughlin says that this partnership is an important step in addressing health inequalities for Māori in the Waikato.
“RHCNZ is dedicated to enabling better health outcomes by increasing access to our world class radiology services. This clinic will provide accessible, timely healthcare in an environment that suits the needs of the local community,” he said.
The Te Kōhao Health Wellness and Diagnostic Centre will be providing Whānau Ora supported access to health services, mental health and addictions services, alongside developing new indigenous models and services.
Funders that have generously enabled the project include Trust Waikato, DV Bryant Trust, and the Significant Lottery Fund.
The Te Kōhao Health Wellness and Diagnostic Centre was designed by Chibnall Buckell Team Architects, built by Lobell Construction with Quantity Surveyors ECS Group, Condair Air Conditioning and Feisst Electrical.
The construction is distinguished by a central pou feature at the entrance and perimeter of huge pou carved out of native timber over a six-month period at Te Whare Maui, the dedicated carving studio owned by Te Kōhao Health.
Head carver Rei Mihaere, Pene Campbell, Steve Rankin, Wiremu Tonga, Ammon Tarawhiti and Hakopa Parker carved the 4-metre-high timber pou that represent the powers of Tane Mahuta and Tangaroa.
The four pou that flank the four corners of the site represent Ngā Hau e Whā (the four winds). Te Tai Tonga (dedicated to the Iwi of the South Island), Te Tai Rawhiti (dedicated to the Iwi of the East), Te Tai Tokerau (dedicated to the Iwi of the North) and Te Tai Hau Uru (dedicated to the Iwi of the West).
The highly decorative pou have been carved and painted in striking colours with representational creatures to honour and symbolise the diverse pūrākau from the tribes across the motu.
The designs incorporate taniwha ranging from Paikea (whales) to manu (birds), pounamu (greenstone), paua, Rangatira kōrero, significant battles and linkages to Tainui waka.
The building represents a waka. On the North-East side of the building is Te Tau Ihu that represents the vision of Te Kōhao Health:
“Kia whakatinanatia te ihi, te wehi, te wana, te tino rangatiratanga me te hauoranga o te whānau. Strong, healthy, vibrant, and prosperous whānau.”
The governance of the Board of Te Kōhao Health including its strategies, initiatives and kaimahi (workforce) is reflected in the Te Tau Rapa standing at the rear of the building.
The opening ceremony is anticipating a huge community turn-out. It will end after karakia with the traditional custom of burying the first carving shavings from the ornate seven pou that safeguard the health and wellbeing of our community.

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