Health Minister Jonathan Coleman was yesterday given a guided tour of Waipuna Hospice's $2 million day services wing, the first of its kind in New Zealand.
It was Mr Coleman's first opportunity to see the 980sq m extension to the hospice after he was unable to attend the official opening last year.
Mr Coleman and Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller also donned shorts to bare their legs for a photo shoot as part of a hospice fundraising campaign that will coincide with the shortest day of the year in June.
He was shown around the new wing by Hospice chief executive Richard Thurlow and chairman Mark Tingey, with the rest of his visit to Tauranga spent meeting a group of National Party supporters and visiting a Tauranga-based medical supplies company at Mount Maunganui.
The day services wing was built to provide a place for treatment, support and relaxation for outpatients. It features an atrium lounge with doors leading to a landscaped courtyard, with treatment rooms surrounding the atrium where outpatients can visit doctors, community nurses or counsellors.
There were also rooms for art therapy and entertainment, a playroom for children dealing with grief, a massage room and a large medical staff training room. The wing was funded equally by the Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust (TECT) and from bequests to the hospice.
The Government was contributing $76 million across four years to the country's network of hospices which largely rely on donations to pay their bills. Mr Coleman said $7million was being spent on educating palliative care staff and community supporters.