State-of-the-art integrated medical hub opens in Mataatua

Creating integrated, accessible health care for whānau has been the focus for Te Puna Ora o Mataatua as it opens it’s all new medical hub in the heart of Kopeopeo.

Rehua Medical, formerly known as Med Central, opened in Whakatāne on Monday October 10, with an all new name and location.

The facility, which was previously located 100 meters up the road, behind Adamson’s Pharmacy, has opened its doors at 90 King Street, Whakatāne.

Te Puna Ora o Mataatua Chief Executive Dr Chris Tooley is elated to have the facility up and running.

“Months of hard mahi (work) and planning, and our desire to ensure healthcare is easy to access for our Mataatua whānau (families) have led us to this point.

“This medical hub offers whānau (families) new avenues of support on their hauora (health) journeys whilst also remaining true to our core value, that is, to provide manaakitanga (care) for Mataatua whānau and ensure they live healthy and supported lives.”

All the same friendly doctors, nurses and administration staff continue to operate the service—with new next generation facilities and modern medical equipment coming at no extra cost.

New features include six consultation rooms, a three-bed nursing triage area and capacity to enrol at least 10,000 patients. The clinic can be accessed through automatic doors and is mobility friendly.

“This gives us capacity to grow and meet the demand of our rohe in the short to medium term, and also gives us space for another General Practitioner which we are currently recruiting for,” says Dr Chris Tooley.

The facility also includes a shared reception space with Te Puna Ora o Mataatua, with the aim being to provide better wraparound care for whānau (families).

“We want our new facility to be the centre point for all whānau (families) wanting to access our health, medical, social and employment services.”

Te Puna Ora o Mataatua’s Cultural Director Haromi Williams says this vision is strongly reflected in the service’s new name, the name of the building and in the name of its reception, which have all been jointly gifted to Te Puna Ora o Mataatua by its Board together with Kāhui Kaumatua.

“Rehua is spoken as the Chief among our stars. It is also the tenth and highest of heavenly realms for Māori.

“Rehua possesses the power of health, the ability to heal and the gift to cure disease.

“As the eldest son of Rangi and Papa and first manifesting as lightening, Rehua is also a source of invigoration and innovation, guiding us to push the boundaries in exploring new ways of serving our whānau (families).

“The name of the building is Te Whakarauora o Rehua which broken down is whaka, or to make something happen, rau meaning one hundred, ora being life or health, and Rehua is the power of healing.

“Our whakaaro (thinking) behind this ingoa (name) is to say there are a hundred (or many) ways to heal.

“Lastly, our reception, which will be known as Te Wheke O Muturangi is about recognising our integrated model of care.

“History tells us Kupe pursued a wheke (octopus) with the same name from Hawaiki to Aotearoa.

“The spaces within Te Whakarauora o Rehua are an ode to the tentacles of the wheke (octopus).

“It all comes back to whānau (families), and serving them the best way possible.”

Haromi Williams says one person who was instrumental in gifting these ingoa (name) was former Te Puna Ora o Mataatua deputy chairperson, academic, and long-serving member of the New Zealand Māori Council, Maanu Paul, who sadly died in September 2022.

“Maanu was a staunch Māori rights advocate who believed in the betterment of Māori through Māori led solutions.

“His strong belief in mana motuhake is something that will live on not only in the legacy of his life’s work, but also in this taonga he has gifted to us in Rehua Medical.”

The all new medical hub is just the first step in Te Puna Ora o Mataatua’s goal of regional, integrated care.

Over Labour Weekend Rehua Medical also launched its mobile arm, Rehua Nuku Ora, a fully mobile GP bus.

Medical Director Jethro LeRoy says both of these sites offer whānau different avenues to use when they need healthcare.

“The variety means some existing barriers, like not having the right travel, are removed and our whānau can seek the care that they need to live a long and healthy life.”

The mobile bus unit has a reception, two minor surgery rooms, and a full bathroom. It also has extendable awnings to allow for drive-through services to take place, or care to be given to whānau outside of the unit too.

“Another barrier to healthcare is sometimes cost. With both of our new services, all fees will remain the same including free healthcare for under 18s and subsidised health care appointments for youth and kaumatua,” says Dr Jethro LeRoy.

Communities hoping to have the bus travel to them for care will be able to enquire about this by emailing reception@rehuamedical.co.nz

Whānau wanting to visit the fixed site at 90 King Street Whakatāne will be able to visit between 8am and 4pm weekdays.

“Everyone’s welcome at Rehua Medical and we cannot wait to see you at both facilities.”

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