Kaikoura's long awaited Integrated Family Health Centre's site was given a traditional Maori blessing this morning to prepare it for the construction that's about to start.
Members from the community and representatives from Te Runanga o Kaikoura, the Kaikoura District Council, the Kaikoura Health Facility Charitable Trust, Canterbury District Health Board, Arrow International, and Kaikoura MP Colin King gathered at dawn with for the official ceremony.
The ceremony marks a farewell of the old Kaikoura Hospital s in preparation for the new Kaikoura Integrated Family Health Centre and was a welcome to Arrow International as the construction contractor.
Sir Mark Solomon acknowledged the sadness of losing the old buildings but says the new building will give the community hope for the future.
"As a family this hospital has been here for us for everything from births, and deaths to cut thumbs. We are sad to see it go, but at the same time we know that what replaces it will be a great benefit to the community," Sir Mark said.
David Meates, Canterbury DHB chief executive, says the ceremony highlights new beginnings.
"Thanks for making the journey to mark the event. Enabling works start soon which signal the start of something really exciting for Kaikoura. It's been a long road to get here but thanks to lots of hard work by the community we are at a point where we can start construction," Mr Meates says.
"The town is a growing international tourist destination and now we will have quality facilities to offer. We couldn't have done it without the help and support of the people of Kaikoura as well as the district council for both their patience and enthusiasm."
The new $13 million Kaikoura Integrated Family Health Centre will replace the old hospital and provide facilities for primary care, aged care, acute care, maternity care, radiology services and trauma stabilisation.
Today's ceremony was particularly significant for Dr Lloyd Johnson, now retired, who served for many years as a GP in Kaikoura and Mary Gordon, wife of the late Dr Geoff Gordon who had a passion for providing excellent health care in the Kaikoura district.
Dr Gordon was instrumental in moving the practice to the existing facility and went to great lengths to keep the facility operational.
Winston Gray, Kaikoura Mayor, says the Kaikoura community has consistently shown support for their health services over the years and now for this project having already raised nearly $700,000 towards it.
"It's gratifying to see how everyone has got behind it. We are grateful to the Canterbury DHB who stuck with the project in spite of having to deal with the fallout from the Canterbury earthquakes."
Mark Hopwood, Arrow International CEO, says Arrow had been welcomed on to the site and into the wider Kaikoura whanau.
"We feel privileged to be tasked with the responsibility to deliver a successful project."
The government has agreed to a $10 million spend to support the construction of a family healthcare centre at Kaikoura.
The community is raising the other $3.4 million that is needed.
The new IFHC will be on the site of the old hospital so it will be a complex, staged development.
The Kaikoura hospital originally opened on June 3, 1912 – parts of it are over 100 years old making it the oldest health facility in use in Canterbury, and possibly New Zealand.
For media queries contact Amy Milne, CDHB Media Advisor 027 502 7523.
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