New start for former Centrepoint land
New start for former Centrepoint land
New Zealand’s leading natural health training institute has just announced the purchase of land once owned by the controversial Centrepoint Community in Albany, Auckland.
Wellpark College of Natural Therapies says the land purchase is part of its expansion plans to cater for increasing numbers of domestic and foreign students training for a career in natural therapies.
College Principal Phillip Cottingham says New Zealand is seen as a leader in the natural health industry globally. Wellpark College of Natural Therapies is one of the largest institutions of its kind in Australasia.
Immediate plans for the 7.6 hectare bush clad land on the slopes of Albany is a $200,000 - $300,000 spend to rebuild accommodation, kitchen & toilet facilities.
“The buildings are in a very run down state,” says Phillip. “Ultimately we will spend between $1 million and $1.5 million over two to three years to bring the site up to modern professional educational standards.”
Given the history of the property, one of the first tasks when Wellpark takes possession in April will be a clearing and blessing of the property by local iwi.
The property has been sold by Public Trust on behalf of the New Zealand Community Growth Trust, which is the successor to the Centrepoint Community Trust. Bayleys Realty Group sales consultant Nigel McNeill who brokered the deal said Wellpark was the perfect buyer for a property that came with a history.
The site, to be renamed Wellpark College North Shore Campus, will initially be used to run residential courses in aromatherapy, nutrition, naturopathy, herbalism, yoga and ayurvedic medicine. It will also be used as a living complex for tutors, domestic and international students studying on site and at Wellpark’s main educational campus in Grey Lynn, central Auckland.
Wellpark also plans to establish a top class research centre in natural medicine at Albany collaborating with other tertiary education institutes in New Zealand and worldwide – as well as running residential natural healing clinics.
It plans to attract leading figures in the wellbeing field - such as neuroscientist Candace Pert - to hold symposiums at the site and to be a major focus for New Zealanders interested in natural wellbeing.
“The new campus will allow us to expand our focus on modern evidence-based health care combined with best traditional medicine methods,” says Phillip.
Other plans are for facilities such as the swimming pool and craft, dance and yoga studios to be available for the wider Albany and North Shore community at discounted rates and to allow public use of walking tracks on the land.
The Wellpark bid for the land was successful over several others tendered: other plans included a technology park and an arts centre. A separate part of the land will provide ongoing accommodation for members of the Kahikatea Eco Art Village who currently live and work there.
“Part of what we are also planning is to preserve this beautiful natural area in what is becoming the busy and high density area of Albany,” says Phillip. “It is just off the motorway and a short distance from the North Harbour Stadium, but the bush and space gives a real feeling of being deep in nature.”
Public Trust spokesman Simon Dixie said that Public Trust as trustee was pleased with the successful tender result. “We are very satisfied with this sale as we believe the property is going to a good home. Not only has a price been received that was above valuation, but also - and just as importantly - Wellpark has undertaken to preserve this beautiful natural area.”
Phillip and wife Jenny have been involved in the natural therapies world for 27 years. They ran their first wellbeing class in Auckland in the 1980s: five students in a room in their garden. By 1990 demand saw them move to rented premises in central Auckland and then buy the current campus in Grey Lynn.
The College now turns over $2.5 million annually with a 300 plus student population, four faculty heads and 40 academic tutors including medical doctors.
Ten per cent of the students this year were from overseas including Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, China, Norway, Malaysia, Iraq, Greece, Thailand and USA (www.wellpark.co.nz). Wellpark offers diploma certifications with degree programs planned for the near future.
Phillip says New Zealand’s visionary natural health manufacturers, innovative natural health practitioners, pure green image and the country’s strong stance against restrictions imposed on the wellbeing industry elsewhere have all positioned New Zealand as a global leader in the field.
Wellpark is particularly committed to the integrative health model: New Zealand’s Ministry of Health recently established the Advisory Office for Integrative Care and many medical doctors are currently training in this field.