A multi-million-dollar project to upgrade Bay of Islands Hospital and build a new health centre in Kawakawa is in disarray after one of two partners in the project pulled out.
However, Northland District Health Board (NDHB) is vowing to continue with the project, saying its $9.9 million hospital rebuild is continuing as planned and it will now also build the adjoining health centre.
The "integrated wellness centre", called Te Hauora o Pukepuke Rau, was to have been built by the Ngati Hine Health Trust at a cost of $8m but the iwi health provider is understood to have pulled out on Friday due to a lack of funds.
Part of the existing hospital has already been demolished to make away for the project with the first sod symbolically turned in May.
NDHB chairwoman Sally Macauley said she could reassure the people of the Mid North that the Bay of Islands Hospital rebuild was underway and would continue as planned.
The health board would now also take over the wellness centre project, which would bring together the three GP practices in Kawakawa and Moerewa, along with community health, outpatient, pharmacy and dental services.
It was too early to discuss how the extra cost would be met. More details would be available soon, she said.
Ngati Hine Health Trust chief executive Geoff Milner and chairwoman Gwen Te Pania-Palmer did not return the Advocate's calls on Friday.
The hospital rebuild includes a new two-storey building with an accident and medical department, radiology and after-hours GP service on the ground floor and a 20-bed medical ward upstairs. The remaining part of the old hospital will be refurbished.
As well as housing most of the area's primary health services, the adjoining wellness centre will form the entrance to Bay of Islands Hospital.
When the project was launched in May, Mrs Te Pania-Palmer said the combined heath board-health trust project would offer the best care possible for all people of the Mid North.
She said the wellness centre would be by far the trust's biggest investment to date, easily eclipsing Te Mirumiru early childcare centre, built in 2012.
A decision to build the combined facility on the Bay of Islands Hospital site in Kawakawa came after years of debate over whether to rebuild the old hospital or start again on a new site elsewhere in the Mid North, such as Kerikeri.