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New ambulance station for Rotorua

The station was officially opened in Rotorua today. Supplied photos.

A milestone has been achieved for St John Ambulance and the people of Rotorua today with the official opening of Mauri Tau, Whare Waka Manaaki – the new St John Rotorua Ambulance Station.

The new facility, located on Te Ngae Road, was blessed by mana whenua, Te Arawa and Ngāti Hurungaterangi, in a ceremony attended by Associate Minister of Health (Māori Health) Hon Peeni Henare and Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick.

Construction of the long-awaited hub was fast-tracked following an $11 million grant from the Infrastructure Reference Group as part of the Government’s “shovel ready” projects, announced at the end of July 2020.

The project has been a collaboration between Ngāti Hurungaterangi, Te Arawa, The Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment, R & B Property Group, the Rotorua community, and St John.

St John Lakes territory manager George Clicquot says the organisation is grateful for the investment, signalling its importance for both ambulance staff and the community.

“This is a significant achievement in providing our ambulance staff with modern facilities that enable them to operate more efficiently. It is a positive step in optimising our care for the people of Rotorua and the wider region,” he says.

The custom-built facility is fit for purpose, offering better rest areas for staff, adequate garaging for vehicles, sufficient storage to house emergency equipment, and contemporary training facilities.

“We are very excited about opening Mauri Tau, Whare Waka Manaaki, which has truly been achieved in partnership with local iwi and has been a catalyst for strengthening relationships and integrating cultural needs and practices into a comprehensive facility which better reflects the work we do,” says George.

"We’ve acknowledged the cultural roots of the area and woven in elements important to iwi, the community, and our staff and volunteers.

“It’s important that this facility not only presents a safe, professional, platform for our ambulance officers to provide emergency health services from, but this same space reflects meaning and purpose of this care and provision.

“We are thrilled to have included snapshots of Rongoā (traditional Māori medicine) into the design and artwork to reflect our practice of medicine, while acknowledging the importance of traditional Māori medicinal practices, which will build knowledge, understanding and connection to mātauranga Māori, or Māori knowledge,” he says.

As the emergency ambulance service continues to experience growing demand in Rotorua, it is looking at ways of futureproofing to ensure the long-term needs of the community are met.

St John is evaluating a property in Fairy Springs to operate as an additional response point, to further enhance ambulance response times to patients with the greatest need.

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