Blessings aplenty for Te Kāika hub

The sense of occasion was palpable as hundreds gathered for the opening of a community hub 20 years in the making.

Te Kāika chief executive Matt Matahaere said he was “so excited” to finally bring the organisation’s Wellbeing Hub to reality.

“I couldn’t sleep last night.

“It was like I was young again and it was Christmas,” Mr Matahaere said.

The two-storey hub in Caversham had three distinct office areas for social services and primary health providers from the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) and Health New Zealand Te Whatu Ora (HNZ) — allowing them to all work under the same roof, he he said.

There were meeting rooms, examination rooms, private offices, lounging areas, a staff hub, job-search kiosks for visitors and more.

“Sometimes you feel like you’re bluffing forever and then all of a sudden there’s a building — so, very privileged, very happy,” he said.

The dawn opening began with a whakawātea of ​​the building — a practice used to cleanse the energy of a new space.

The whakawātea was led by mana whenua, blessing each room by delivering karakia throughout the building.

“It’s been a beautiful process . . . we’ve got our absolute guns leading that for us.

“I feel very privileged to be always in that space, it just brings a wairua (soul), an āhua (character) to our building and it becomes a living organism.”

The whakawātea was followed by speeches from Te Kāika, HNZ and MSD representatives, before ending with an official ribbon cutting.

“There’s been so many people that have helped along the way and at the end of the day, we’ve finally got the waka in the moana and it’s going to be sailing.”

Mr Matahaere said he was looking forward to creating a more welcoming place for whānau and the community to come for all types of services.

“(I’m) excited for them to be able to come into a place that really feels like theirs.”

Hundreds of people from all pockets of the community crowded the front of the building for the opening.

“I always knew that my whānau would be there, but I’m just very privileged that a lot of people turned up and very humbled.”

The hub opened to the public at 8.30am after the blessing.

Mr Matahaere said he felt grateful for MSD chief executive Debbie Power, Ōtākou Health Ltd chairwoman Donna Matahaere-Atariki and director Matapura Ellison who helped to bring the vision to fruition.

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