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Waitangi-based Arena Munro never thought he’d need accommodation in Auckland, but that’s exactly what happened when his wife, Hana, was helicoptered to Auckland City Hospital from Waitangi.
“Hana’s heart skipped a few beats and she ended up here at Auckland,” he says. “It gave us all a shock, mostly her of course. But while she flew, I drove. And I wasn’t sure where I’d stay. But the hospital staff referred me to Te Whare Āwhina.”
Arena stayed in hospital for four days and he got to drive Hana home to the far north after she was given the all-clear.
Te Whare Āwhina is a welcoming space for many. It’s short term, comfortable accommodation for out of town whānau who have someone in our hospitals. In its 29-year history, it’s provided thousands with somewhere to rest their worried and weary bones.
Dame Rangimārie Naida Glavish, Chief Advisor Tikanga Māori, who last year celebrated 30 years of service to the health sector, says the whānau centred philosophy and approach have been at its heart from the beginning.
Te Whare Āwhina opened in 1992 and moved to its current position in Building 30 in 2005.
It was run by volunteers, mostly staff, who would schedule themselves on to ensure that whānau were looked after and had someone to help them navigate the hospital. They provided a supportive and caring environment at a very stressful time.
But after 16 years in its current position, it was time for a refresh. The refurbishment began last year and phase one of a two-phase refurbishment is complete.
It is now a simple and functional space as people spend most of their time on the wards with their loved ones. But its rooms are comfortable, warm and peaceful.
It has a fully functioning and spacious kitchen, laundry, dining and lounge and rooms and when operating at capacity it sleeps 40 people.
“It will keep going as long as it’s needed,” says refurbishment Project Manager Kerehi Marsh. “I believe it will be needed forever!”
Te Whare Āwhina is staffed 24/7 by experienced and caring kaimahi who are there to support and look after whānau.
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