Long journey to realise village health concept

Te Kaika, a new health centre in Caversham, intends to be a poster child for the hub model of providing healthcare. Health reporter Mike Houlahan visits the facility, which opens on Wednesday.

Naivete played a major part in the creation of Te Kaika, a new health hub offering a range of services to Maori, Pasifika and low income families in south Dunedin.

It all looked very easy at first, Donna Matahaere-Atariki, part of the partnership driving Te Kaika said: take an old building and turn it into a health centre.

However, issues such as obtaining resource consents and asbestos abatement complicated matters - let alone the complications of getting a diverse range of medical and social services housed in the former College St School.

''We just kept on following that vision,'' Ms Matahaere-Atariki said.

''It's relatively easy to go and set up a GP's business, if you have the money to do it, but it's a lot harder to set up what is intended to be a community of professionals and clinicians utilising their resources in the interests of a community.''

Te Kaika (the Village) is a partnership between Te Putahitanga o Te Waipounamu (the South Island Whanau Ora Commissioning agency), Ngai Tahu, the University of Otago, health and social service provider Arai Te Uru Whare Hauora and the Pacific community.