A Waikato township’s community has ready access to health care thanks to the work of an innovative group of organisations.
A collaborative project to provide health care in the Waikato town of Kihikihi has added to the “whānau feel” of the community.
The Kihikihi Community Health Hub sits on the grounds of Kihikihi School on Whitmore Street.
Life Unlimited (now known as Your Way | Kia Roha) is among the organisations who provide support at the centre – primarily through community services facilitator Barbara Tane. Hearing therapists from Your Way | Kia Roha also provide free hearing evaluations.
Barbara is a member of the Māori Women’s Welfare League, whose Te Awamutu branch (Te Rōpu Wāhine Māori Toko i te Ora) was also involved in the establishment of the hub.
Branch president Melodie Hamon says Kihikihi was already a tight knit community – the hub has made it even closer.
She said it brought people together from all parts of the community and had added to the community’s whānau feel.
“The hub is important because it supports tamariki and Maori whānau and that matches the values of the league.”
A significant advantage for the hub is that it provides health care for families who would otherwise struggle to get to nearby Te Awamutu for appointments.
It means access is readily available to something as basic as hearing checks for whānau who might otherwise have gone without.
The hub is a place where groups with a focus on health or wellbeing can meet, where generations of whānau can gather, and where people can collaborate and connect to promote healthy, positive lifestyles.
It was set up with support from a range of businesses and organisations including the league, Kihikihi Rotary Club, Midlands Health Network and the Te Awamutu Medical Centre, Sport Waikato, Kihikihi School board of trustees and Inkdrop Graphic Design.
The success of free weekly health clinics at the school by Te Awamutu Medical Centre, which used innovation funding from Midlands Health Network towards “improving access” to health care for patients, inspired the hub’s establishment.
The then practice manager of the centre, Wayne Lim, said at the time of the opening, a group of community-minded people had come together wanting to see the whole Kihikihi community benefit from better access to health and lifestyle information.
The hub was dedicated to the memory of the late Billie Crossley, a leading light in the Māori Women’s Welfare League for half a century, and a prominent Kihikihi resident.
Melodie Hamon said the hub had succeeded in achieving its goals and would continue to be a vital part of the Kihikihi community.
Events at the hub generally attract about 50 members of the Kihikihi community.