New cafe and retail space opens at Middlemore Hospital

Karl Kippenberger and Steph Martin opened their first store four years ago to offer organic food to benefit people's health.
EMILY FORD/FAIRFAX NZ

Karl Kippenberger and Steph Martin opened their first store four years ago to offer organic food to benefit people's health.

 Middlemore Hospital has become the first New Zealand hospital to provide an organic food shop on its premises.

The south Auckland hospital has completed a nearly $1 million makeover of its retail precinct, Paataka Place, which officially opened on February 7.

Outdated cafe food has been given the boot in favour of healthier options like Subway, Fuku Sushi, Columbus Coffee, Elixir Espresso, and Little Goodness.

Middlemore Hospital's new retail space opened on February 7 and features coffee, organic food, sushi, and a pharmacy.
Counties Manukau Health

Middlemore Hospital's new retail space opened on February 7 and features coffee, organic food, sushi, and a pharmacy.

As well as food stores, the space is host to a florist and Haumanu Pharmacy, the first New Zealand pharmacy to use robotic technology to dispense medications.

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Little Goodness is an organic food store run by couple Steph Martin and Karl Kippenberger.

Middlemore Hospital's general manager of facilities Phillip Healy, left, director of hospital services Philip Balmer and ...
EMILY FORD/FAIRFAX NZ

Middlemore Hospital's general manager of facilities Phillip Healy, left, director of hospital services Philip Balmer and pharmacy manager Sanjoy Nand, at the opening of the new retail precinct.

The store is an offshoot of the couple's Goodness Grocer stores in Pukekohe and Waiuku, which they established about four years ago to provide organic and healthy food.

It's the first of its kind in a hospital in the country, and Martin says it's great to provide sustainable food for people.

"It's pretty exciting to see organic food becoming part of the mainstream and it's great to have that support from the DHB and the government," Martin says.

A lot of hours went into getting the store up and running, with Martin spending her weekends painting the space and building shelves out of recycled wood.

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"This is a bit of a test model, once it's fully set up I'll see how it runs without me and then consider going into hospitals nationwide. The goal is to have healthy food available."

Paataka Place is on the hospital's ground floor at the main entrance, and it took eight months to complete. The space was once home to a cafe, pharmacy and general store.

Director of hospital services Philip Balmer says it was important the new precinct is environmentally sustainable and meets Ministry of Health healthy eating guidelines.

He says the new facility is all about giving patients and staff a comfortable, inviting space.

"We want our community to feel valued and want this facility to reflect that," Balmer says.

"We've got dedicated staff and know that when they're working 12 hour days they need a place to come and relax in a nice environment."

The updated discharge lounge and pharmacy consultation room also have teaching spaces for patients to learn more about staying healthy when they leave hospital.

 - Stuff

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