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Manawai facility officially opened

Published Monday 25 Jul 2022

Intellectually disabled service users from across the country will benefit from a more homelike and therapeutic environment in purpose-built units opened last week by Minister of Health Andrew Little.

The facility consists of six individual service units (ISUs), which have been constructed on the Ratonga Rua O Porirua campus.

The facility is named Manawai, a name gifted by local iwi Ngāti Toa and referring to the awa/stream behind the hospital. Representatives from Ngāti Toa and MHAIDS kaumātua Kuni Shepherd carried out a dawn blessing last month to prepare the facility for its opening.

Manawai will operate as a national service, supporting clients who have previously been in inpatient services around New Zealand for a significant period of time. It offers a greater quality of life for people with an intellectual disability and/or significant mental health condition, who require a specialised individual living environment.

“This six-unit facility will provide a better quality of life for those receiving care through more individual therapeutic programmes in a more private, home-like environment,” Minister Little said.

“The opening of this unit is an important step in investing in the future of mental health and intellectual disability services in Aotearoa.”

MHAIDS executive clinical director Paul Oxnam described the project as significant for the services provided.

“This is a significant project for MHAIDS. We hold national contracts for the delivery of services for people with high and complex forensic mental health and intellectual disability needs, and these new units offer us the chance to support such clients in a more therapeutic environment,” he said.

“We will be able to offer clients more individual therapeutic programmes, which gives greater rehabilitative gains and increases the potential for reintegration into the community.”

Each unit features a spacious living area, kitchenette, an ensuite bathroom, and private outdoor space. The units are light and colourful, and mark a step away from institutional design features.

Image: L-R Karla Bergquist, MHAIDS executive director; Barbara Edmonds, MP for Mana; Andrew Little, Minister of Health; Paul Oxnam, MHAIDS executive clinical director; John Tait, Interim District Director - Capital, Coast & Hutt Valley