Major refocus for Health Trust

The Helensville District Health Trust has announced it is closing its operations at Te Whare Oranga ô Parakai and refocusing its priorities on improvements and expansion of its health campus in central Helensville.
Trust Chairman Rory MacGillycuddy says, “we have thought long and hard about this difficult decision, but we believe it is the right one, as it will allow the Trust to focus our efforts on ensuring the facilities we own on behalf of the community are best able to meet the health needs of our growing population.”
Among those priorities are a much needed expansion of the Helensville Birthing Centre, repairs of the building which is home to the Waitematâ District Health Board offices and the redevelopment of Alison McKenzie House on the corner of Porter Crescent and Commercial Road.
“The DHB building alone is in need of asbestos removal, strengthening to bring it up to earthquake standards and also requires a full roof replacement,” says Rory MacGillycuddy, “but as well as those costly maintenance issues, we also have exciting projects demanding investment including the highly successful Helensville Birthing Centre which is ready to double in size.”
Te Whare Oranga ô Parakai — in its former life the old Parakai Tavern — was gifted to the Health Trust and after extensive renovations opened in 2015 as a community hub with rooms for hire and a commercial kitchen.
Health Trust Business Manager, Nicola Keen-Biggelaar says, “despite the best efforts of so many involved over the last four years and of our committed staff we haven’t been able to make the facility financially sustainable.”
The closure of the centre and some other staff changes within the Health Trust, mean nine jobs are now being made redundant.
However, Nicola Keen-Biggelaar is hopeful some of the catering staff may be able to stay on until the end of the year to fulfil the contract to run the Kaipara College Tuck Shop.
“We’re also talking with the regular users like Te Wânanga o Aotearoa to limit any disruption on their students who have been studying Te Reo Mâori at Te Whare Oranga ô Parakai this year,” says Nicola Keen-Biggelaar.
The Trust is now looking to lease the Parakai complex which will give it a regular income which will help offset the expenditure it’s facing on upgrading its other buildings.
The facility will close as a centre for hire at the end of August.

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