A new partnership with Ngati Hine Health Trust providing improved services for Maori will go hand in hand with a major upgrade of the Bay of Islands Hospital at Kawakawa.

Northland District Health Board (NDHB) and Bay of Islands iwi Ngati Hine are working together to develop a Whanau Ora Centre at the hospital.

The facility's design will reflect Ngati Hine's eco-savvy, energy-efficient, award-winning early childhood centre in Kawakawa.

The concept goes far beyond the co-location of healthcare providers and will have a determined focus on health promotion, Ngati Hine Health Trust's chief operating officer Maxine Shortland said.


"Our vision is that healing starts when you walk into the Whanau Ora Centre by promoting and demonstrating the holistic philosophy of health and wellbeing," Ms Shortland said.

The larger building programme will see the tired, poorly laid out current hospital building not only modernised but better able to integrate primary and secondary health and social services for the mid-north.

The configuration of primary care services such as doctors' and other clinics is still being planned but will include a mix of mobile, community and outreach clinics.

The services will be an extension of existing community health strategies already operating via the Bay of Islands Integrated Family Health Centre, NDHB chief executive Nick Chamberlain said.

"We are always looking for ways to strengthen partnerships in the delivery of healthcare services and, with the formalisation of a Memorandum of Understanding with Ngati Hine Health Trust last year, we are set to develop a purpose-built facility together."

NDHB has already committed $8 million to the major refurbishment already under way at the hospital. That includes building new emergency and medical facilities, after-hours clinics for GPs to use, a new eight-bed renal unit and replacing and relocating the kitchen.