Foxton gets new health centre
Horowhenua has ushered in a new dawn for medical services, with a 20-year vision for a health centre in Foxton finally realised.
Hundreds of people braved the cold weather on Saturday to be part of the official opening of Te Waiora health centre.
Built on a former football pitch next to Manawatu College, the centre will house Foxton Family Health Centre and Foxton Medical Centre. General practitioners and health specialists will service the needs of people from Foxton, Foxton Beach, Shannon, Himatangi and other nearby areas.
A partnership between Central Primary Health Organisation and Maori health provider Te Runanga o Raukawa, Te Wairoa has been 20 years in the making.
MidCentral Health chief executive Murray Georgel said people only had to look at Levin to see how Te Waiora would impact on Foxton.
Levin's health centre had been open for 10 years, and in that time doctors and specialists had been able to work together much more easily, he said. The same was now possible in Foxton, which would see patients given better healthcare.
Otaki MP Nathan Guy said it had been a long and frustrating journey for some in the community, but now was the time to celebrate the achievements of everyone involved.
Te Waiora was another example of public sector and private groups coming together to improve an area, after the Warm Up Foxton scheme saw more than 600 homes in the town get either subsidised or free insulation, he said.
Te Tai Hauauru MP Tariana Turia said it was great to have a health centre in the area, but it was only one part of healthcare there.
"[Healthcare] is about taking responsibility for ourselves and saying we want to be the healthiest we can be, and keep everyone as safe and healthy as we can." Having the centre next to the college was suitable, as one-third of the Maori population was younger than 15, she said.
"We all have a responsibility to those kids to make sure they will be looked after in the best way we can."
The centre also serves as a tribute to the local community, with various rooms named after prominent locals.
Among them is the Teppett Room, named after Dr Howard Teppett, who lived in Foxton for more than 40 years. He was killed in 1993 during an aggravated burglary of his home. Another room has been named after Foxton Beach couple Larry and Jane Ellison.
The couple, who used to own the Mobil service station in Foxton and sold their business Rural Fuel to BP last year, granted a large sum of money for the centre to be built.