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Te Kohao Health centre: ‘Pā’ perimeter of pou marks start of $15m build

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Te Kohao CEO Lady Tueriti Moxon. Photo / Supplied

Twenty-eight pou will watch over the soon-to-be-built $15 million wellness and diagnostic centre in Enderley, Hamilton.

A team of five skilled carvers from Te Kōhao Health have custom-made the 28 pou that will mark the Tennyson Rd construction site ahead of bulk earthworks officially starting.

Tomorrow morning, kaumātua and board member, Koroneihana Cooper, and Archbishop Emeritus, Tā David Moxon, will bless and name the pou in accordance with tikanga.

Tā David Moxon will bless and name the pou in accordance with tikanga. Photo / Supplied
Tā David Moxon will bless and name the pou in accordance with tikanga. Photo / Supplied

“In March we had the turning of the sod with Minister Mahuta and the mayor – now our pou will stand all along the perimeter of the security fence,” says Lady Tureiti Moxon, Te Kōhao Health managing director.

The kaupapa of having the pou is to ensure visitors know this is a community project.

“It’s not Te Kōhao Health’s project, it’s the Enderley community’s project,” Moxon explained. “This is about living our tino rangatiratanga through strong, healthy, vibrant and prosperous whānau.”

Head carver Rei Mihaere, Pene Campbell, Steve Rankin, Wiremu Tonga, Ammon Tarawhiti and Hakopa Parker started carving back in September at Te Whare Maui in their dedicated carving studio.

Artist's impression of new Te Kohao centre. Image / Supplied
Artist’s impression of new Te Kohao centre. Image / Supplied

Mihaere says the idea for the quantum of pou that range in size from 2.4 metres to 3m at ground level came from the intention to bring the site back to a te ao Māori view.

He stops short of sharing more pūrākau regarding the specific design of each pou prior to the naming “because that will give it away”.

“We thought we’d take a different approach from a typical construction fence. When you get here and see all the pou lined up, it reminds you of a pā site,” he says.

“The majority of the neighbourhood here are whānau Māori, so we hope that they feel included. Many have been asking questions about what’s happening and saying ‘awesome’.”

Moxon shares Mihaere’s view about the project belonging to the community.

“Everything here will be for our community and we’re working with Kāinga Ora, the community centre and whānau that live here,” she says.

The wellness and diagnostic centre aims to reduce inequality, and offer Whānau Ora, mental health and addictions support to health services. Key partners in the build include: Kirikiriroa Marae, Pacific Radiology, Chibnall Buckell Team Architects, ECS Group surveyors, Condair Air Conditioning and Fiesst Electrical.

“No government funding has been received to date, however we would like that. We have been very blessed to have the wonderful support of philanthropic trusts including The Bryant Trust that very generously granted of $1 million, Trust Waikato that granted $2m and the Lottery Significant Fund that granted $5,651,821,” says Lady Tureiti.

Building and resource management consent has been secured and construction will be completed by Christmas 2023.

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