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Hundreds Attend Official Opening

15 July 2008

Hundreds Attend Official Opening

More than 200 guests braved the cold and fog this morning to attend the official opening ceremony at Waikato Hospital today (Tuesday) for its new carpark and main entry building.

Te Arikinui King Tuheitia and Rt Hon Helen Clark sanctioned the name "Te Rau Aroha" and unveiled a commemorative plaque for the building.

Minister of Health, David Cunliffe, other local elected representatives and members of parliament also attended the celebrations.

Both Helen Clark and David Cunliffe spoke at the ceremony and acknowledged the significant Tainui presence.

"It was hugely moving to see such a large contingent from Tainui here today," Mr Cunliffe said

"It speaks volumes about the partnership relationship which just makes all the sense in the world because obviously Maori and the Kingi Tanga are a deep part about what the Waikato is all about," he said.

Waikato DHB's Kaumatua Kaunihera gifted the name for the new building, Te Rau Aroha, meaning love, acceptance and support for all who enter the building.

Helen Clark said she was honoured to be part of the celebrations for the official opening of this first stage of the hospital's redevelopment.

"We have a new, modern, main entry to the hospital, we have the Transit Lounge and we have the 800 car parks, great news for all who are regular visitors to the hospital.

"Today's opening unlocks the way to further major development of the site," she said.

Speaking after the ceremony, Health Waikato chief operating officer Jan Adams said it had been a very special day for the hospital, DHB and Tainui.

"It's been a huge honour to have King Tuheitia, Prime Minister and Minister of Health here today."

Mrs Adams was also pleased a large number of staff were able to participate in the event.

Construction of the 18-level carpark and main entry building began in 2005 and is part of Waikato DHB's $252 million Service and Campus Redevelopment project.

The building is open 24 hours a day and provides direct lift access into the main hospital buildings.

About Waikato District Health Board and Health Waikato:

Waikato DHB is responsible for planning, funding and providing quality health and disability support services for the 353,460 people living in the Waikato DHB region. It has an annual turnover of $915 million and employs more than 5300 people.

Health Waikato is the DHB's main provider of hospital and health services with an annual budget of $530 million and 4500 staff. It has seven divisions across five hospital sites, two maternity and continuing care hospitals and 21 community bases offering a comprehensive range of primary, secondary and tertiary health services.

Other Waikato DHB-funded health services - including primary health, pharmacies and community laboratories - are delivered by a wide range of independent providers.


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