Awhinatia Health Centre reconfigures to improve whānau well-being

By Te Ao - Māori News

Counties Manukau Health has now launched its redesigned Awhinatia Health Centre and health services amalgamation.

“The refit and reconfiguration of Awhinitia Health Centre is part of the district health board’s plans to deliver an integrated, equity-focused and culturally appropriate service for our diverse community,” CM Health GM Mental Health, Tess Ahern says.

“Awhinatia is home to the district health board’s mental health (Maori hub), community health and public health teams and provides a range of specialist healthcare services for adults who need more intensive treatment than can be provided in the primary sector.

“Dame Nganeko Minhinnick said to us that our buildings should mirror who and what we are in our communities so this marks a really important milestone for us in achieving this place where all people can come to experience more joined-up healthcare services in an environment that reflects our community.”

She says having the team working collaboratively on the Papakura site will deliver a better experience of care and offer a single point of entry for people accessing the services.

“A key focus of this service integration is to ensure we can provide a warm, safe and more private and welcoming environment appropriate for the delivery of a Maaori model of care to our service users and their whanau,” Mrs Ahern says.

“The team can now work in a more person-centred way with the ability to be more mobile.”

Healing and comfort

The facilities include a water feature, landscaping and community garden that aims to make people feel more comfortable and connected to the natural environment and promote better engagement with patients.   

The Turapa/Tukutuku water feature with the Te Ara Poutama colours and pattern represents a place of healing and comfort which welcomes patients and whanau and is safe and supportive for staff.

The landscaping was designed by Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) students and follows the pattern from the water feature in the paving which leads people into the new Mai (welcome) Room. The MIT team also created the community garden, which includes a kumara patch, over 30 fruit trees, a worm farm and compost bins, and two large raised garden beds.

Mrs Ahern adds the community garden creates a space and activities focused on improving nutrition, increasing physical activity and social interaction, as well as enhancing mental and spiritual health.

“The features and the community garden, alongside the new layout with the co-location of teams working collaboratively and knowledge sharing, provides the environment that will help our service users maintain their health and wellbeing,” Mrs Ahern says.