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Multi-Sensory Environment

Available in Hamilton

What is a Multi-Sensory Environment?

Our Multi-Sensory Environment (MSE) room and garden have been specially designed to help people with disabilities enjoy a wide range of experiences for therapy, learning, relaxation, and fun. They are both located in Hamilton.

A Room to Relax and Stimulate

Designed to relax and stimulate – our Whare-O-Rongo Multi-Sensory Environment (MSE) Room has been used for over 17 years to increase the enjoyment and sensory experience for people with intellectual disabilities, sensory disorders, and head injuries. The room is based on the Snoezelen model developed in The Netherlands during the 1970s to enable disabled people to relax and explore their sensory environment and, in turn, find more appropriate ways to remain relaxed or stimulated outside of the room. The word Snoezelen is derived from the Dutch verbs “snuffelen” (to seek and explore) and “doezelen” (to relax).

People using the room are exposed to soft music, colours, and lights and are invited to relax with various items that calmly challenge the senses. The relaxing space provided by the MSE helps reduce anxiety and stimulate reactions.

The MSE room is also useful for support workers who can see what relaxes or stimulates their clients. Ideas can then be taken for use in their client’s own home and out in the community.

Multi-Sensory Garden

Opened in September 2017, our Multi-Sensory Garden has been specially designed to stimulate the senses. This stimulation occurs through plants and the use of materials that engage the senses of sight, smell, touch, taste, and sound. The garden of senses is popular with both children and adults, especially those who have sensory processing issues, including autism and other disabilities.

Who can Benefit from Using the Multi-Sensory Room and Garden?

  • Children who have significant special needs such as cerebral palsy, intellectual disability, multiple disability, or autism
  • People with a brain injury
  • Adults with an intellectual or physical disability
  • People with dementia and related disorders
  • People with chronic pain
  • People with sensory processing disorders and sensitivities
  • People with mental health problems
  • People who experience stress

What are the Benefits?

Specialised equipment and resources in the MSE room and garden can assist with:

  • Specific development of the senses
  • Hand-eye co-ordination
  • Understanding “cause and effect”
  • Learning how to interact with other people and activities
  • Choice-making and indicating preferences
  • Learning new skills
  • Relaxation and fun
  • Touch – massage mattress, weighted blanket, tactile wall and floor panels, fan, tactile plants
  • Sight – lights, mirror ball, bubble columns, effects projector, fibre optics
  • Sound – music, sound effects, musical instruments, water feature
  • Smell – fragrant lotions and scented plants
  • Movement – “Leaf Chair”, hammock swing, foam shapes

The Details


Your Way | Kia Roha, 20 Palmerston Street, Hamilton.

Opening Hours

Monday to Friday – 9.00am-5.00pm (hourly sessions)

Saturday – 9.30am-12.30pm (45-minute sessions)


Using the MSE room and garden is $7.50 an hour for one person, or $15 for two or more people. There is no charge for the MSE-trained support person accompanying those having therapy.

Payment can be made by cash, EFTPOS or pre-arranged monthly invoicing.

Bookings are essential. Bookings are made in 8-week blocks.

Operating Requirements

Individuals or groups can use the multi-sensory room or garden with the support of a family member, caregiver, support worker or occupational therapist. Support people are required to complete a Your Way | Kia Roha MSE training course before they can accompany anyone in the MSE room or garden.

How to Make a Booking

Bookings are available in 8-week blocks, every week for 13 weeks.

To book please phone 0800 008 011, or fill out the form below:

Programme Enquiry

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"Latham has been attending the Multi-sensory room for over 5+ years. He really loves coming to use the room and using the swing chair. Latham keeps on coming back to the sensory room because he enjoys it very much."
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