Work begins on Mauri Ora Mental Health Inpatient Facility


Work began this week in preparation for construction of the new Mauri Ora Mental Health Inpatient Unit

Pictured from left to right are; Wī Huata Whānau Advisor, Jordana Bealing Consumer Advisor, Alan Wilson Chief Operating Officer, Mapihi Raharuhi Director Maori Equity and Outcomes, Dean James Cultural Clinical Nurse Liaison, Joanna Price Clinical Nurse Director Mental Health and Addiction Service, Nick Saville-Wood Interim District Director.

Work began this week in preparation for construction of the new Mauri Ora Mental Health Inpatient Unit in Rotorua.

Te Whatu Ora Lakes Interim District Director Nick Saville-Wood says it’s a very exciting milestone as a new, purpose built mental health facility has been very high on the district’s agenda for some years.

This initial stage of the construction will see a large amount of earth moved onto the Rangiuru street site and left for some months for the predicted settlement to occur, prior to work commencing on the foundations. It is expected that construction will begin in early 2023 and all going well, the building is expected to be completed late in 2024 or early 2025.

The planned new adult mental health inpatient facility will have 16 beds with the potential to expand to 20 in the future. The configuration of the bedrooms (in pods of four) will allow different cohorts to be grouped together for example older people, people with vulnerability or who require a safe, low stimulus environment with more intensive nursing.

The new, purpose built facility will ensure the provision of modern, mental health and addiction services which will be safe for staff and tangata whaiora (service users) and culturally appropriate. It will support a focus on the healing and wellbeing of whaiora by incorporating strong kaupapa Māori design principles. For example, the whare manaaki to enable a culturally appropriate space for options such as rongoā.

The business case for the building was approved by the government in September 2020 with the government contributing $25m for the $31m project and Lakes DHB (now Te Whatu Ora Lakes) contributing $6m.

A significant amount of work has happened since then to get to the current stage. This has included work by architects, engineers and project managers working with mental health and addiction staff, iwi and consumers on the detailed design of the building. A Ngāti Whakaue cultural and art committee will ensure the building design is responsive to Māori needs.

Preparation for construction has also included the removal of two buildings on the Rangiuru street site to other areas of Te Whatu Ora Lakes’ grounds.

In 2018/19, a co-design process resulted in a new model of care, Te Ara Tauwhirotanga Pathways that lead us to act with kindness, that guides the development of the sector and is driving the design of the new building.

Nick Saville-Wood says Covid-19 lockdowns and the need to find solutions for the geothermal nature of the site have meant some delays in the progress of the building roject. However, it is very pleasing to be able to announce this significant milestone, he says.

The project is experiencing some cost pressures due to the delays, inflation and the increasing costs and availability of building materials. The government has acknowledged these cost pressures and contributed a further $1.95m to the project in December 2021.

Nick Saville-Wood says the new Mauri Ora Inpatient Unit will result in improved models of care for Te Whatu Ora Lakes’ residents in accordance with international trends, contemporary care models and good practice.