A wellness and respite care facility opening in Huntly in April aims to provide wraparound support services for māmā, pāpā and whānau in the north Waikato region – with a point of difference.

Raukura Hauora o Tainui received funding as part of Kahu Taurima, the joint approach between Te Aka Whai Ora and Te Whatu Ora on maternity and early years – pre-conception to five years old for all whānau in Aotearoa.

The facility will service as far afield as Mercer, Raglan, Te Kauwhata, Ohinewai and Meremere as well as Ngāruawāhia and Huntly, where there are high Māori populations with limited access to resource.

Project manager and registered nurse, Wynell Iraia, says that while a wellness hub was a key focus of the project, they had also identified a gap in respite services to help parents and pēpi.

With the closure of the Huntly Birthcare Centre last October, an opportunity arose for Raukura to utilise the facilities and a refurbishment project began.

"The old birthing unit was ready made for what we wanted to do. Our focus is on providing holistic services for mama, pāpā and whānau, from conception to five years so that’s a long journey for our whānau. We want to make sure we have the resources we need to deliver for our communities," Wynell explains.

"We want to mobilise a team to go out into the community as well, that could consist of mirimiri services, vaccinations for the whole whānau, looking towards hapū wānanga, social support services, smoking cessation and addiction counselling, maternal mental health support and in general any nursing assessments that we identify for whānau," Wynell explains.

"In addition, we could also use the facilities as a respite space that we can expand and develop in the future. Our respite space will be prioritised as it will be day stay, and we will work to ensure whānau get the support they need."

Having a point of difference is a key part of the approach for Raukura.