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Source: Waikato District Health Board

A huri whenua (sod-turning) ceremony was held at Waiora Waikato hospital campus today (19 October) in preparation for construction to start on the new Adult Acute Mental Health Inpatient Facility.

The ceremony was led by Kaunihera Kaumatua and mana whenua Te Haa o te Whenua o Kirikiriroa and brought together Te Whatu Ora mental health and addiction services staff, tangata whaiora/service users, project teams and partners.

Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand Regional Director Hospital and Specialist Services for Te Manawa Taki, Chris Lowry, acknowledged the work of the many people who had supported the design and planning process.

“This is a significant milestone on our journey to delivering a new mental health facility to support our community and staff,” said Ms Lowry.

The Adult Acute Mental Health Inpatient Facility has been designed to provide a welcoming and therapeutic environment for people experiencing mental illness and reflects an adult acute health care plan that incorporates key cultural elements.

The new facility will have eight internal courtyards, maximising natural light use, and will provide space for 64 beds.

A further programme of work to deliver additional community services is underway alongside the development of this facility.

The current Henry Rongomau Bennett Centre is no longer considered suitable for contemporary approaches to mental healthcare, making the new facility a much-needed addition.

The new facility is being built on the current site of the Waikato Regional Renal Centre.

It will be built in two phases, allowing the new renal centre to be completed first and the services to move across, making way for the mental health building.

We are in the process of confirming a construction contract for the mental health facility and it is expected an agreement will be able to be announced soon.

The renal building is expected to be completed in December 2024, with the mental health facility reaching practical completion in 2026.