Te Kotuku Extension Officially Opened by Minister of Health Dr Shane Reti | Te Whatu Ora - Te Tai Tokerau

Te Kotuku Extension Officially Opened by Minister of Health Dr Shane Reti

Health Minister Dr Shane Reti officially opened a state-of-the-art medical laboratory, a 10-cot neonatal unit and a 22-bed paediatric ward and 4 bed paediatric acute assessment unit at Whangārei Hospital today.

Te Kotuku, the maternity building on the Whangārei Hospital campus, was built in 2015, and the vertical extension to the existing facility has been extended as part of a $49.5 million programme of critical capacity works.

The state-of-the-art laboratory facility has been designed and constructed to meet IANZ compliance and a PC2[1] standard to enable higher degrees of service.

“The new laboratory has been built to provide us with capacity now and for some time into the future in line with the Whangārei Hospital master plan. It is connected to and provides services across the existing buildings and will eventually be connected to the new hospital build,” Alex Pimm, Group Director of Operations, Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora Te Tai Tokerau said.

“The facility is spacious, modern and will enable us to provide more testing and incorporate advanced technology. The lab also includes a number of automated machines so that our technicians and scientists can focus their time on more complex work.”

The new 22-bed paediatric ward and 4 bed acute assessment unit replaces ward 2 and will provide inpatient care for tamariki from birth until their 15th birthday.

In addition, the new neonatal unit (formally known as the Special Care Baby Unit) is on the same floor. It will provide comprehensive care for unwell or premature babies from the Te Tai Tokerau region.

“The new extension is the beginning of creating a parent, tamariki, and pēpi health hub, with the new Child Health Centre - Tira Ora being constructed adjacent to the Te Kotuku building, which is expected to be completed in 2026,” said Mr. Pimm.

Ten Paediatricians work with the service and hold outpatient clinics at the Child Health Centre in Whangārei and throughout hospitals in Te Tai Tokerau.

The new facility has a well-resourced playroom, and children’s ward play specialists are available during the week to support children during their hospital stays.

Dr Reti was joined by 10-year-old Mackenzie Campbell, who has been the face of the Whangārei Children’s Ward Refurbishment fundraising campaign, which the Northland Community Foundation manages on behalf of Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora Te Tai Tokerau.

To date, $257,000 has been raised, which has allowed the team to purchase much of the additional medical equipment, toys and games, and sofa beds and recliners on the wish list.

“The donations make a real difference for kaimahi and caregivers as well, in helping to distract children whilst they are unwell. It will help children stay calm for treatments and their time in hospital is as enjoyable as possible.

We acknowledge everyone who has kindly donated, including Tikipunga Children’s Home, Te Puna Tahua Lottery Grants Board, Oxford Charitable Sports Trust, Lindsay Foundation, and the National Assistance Fund,” Mr. Pimm said.


Photo: Minister of Health Dr Shane Reti, Registered Nurse Edhen Church, 10-year-old Mackenzie Campbell and Registered Joiemaia Lubrica. 

[1] Containment of microorganisms involves a combination of buildings, engineering function, equipment, and workplace practices to handle microorganisms safely. Physical containment (PC) is the term used to describe procedures and structures designed to reduce or prevent the release of viable organisms in the outside environment and to protect laboratory occupants, the wider community and other susceptible organisms from exposure and infection.

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