A 48-metre former cargo vessel has arrived at Whanganui Port to be loaded with a seafaring dental clinic.
Crew members, locals and officials gathered for a powhiri on Friday to welcome the YWAM Koha Ship.
The ship is not only here to gain the attention of the public but to pick up a special parcel.
A shipping container turned dental clinic has been outfitted by Whanganui engineer Jamie Barrett from Timmark Services Ltd.
"It's been very straightforward but quite time consuming and it's amazing how generous a lot of Whanganui businesses have been," Barrett said.
The ship is to embark on an aid mission trip around Melanesia region from May next year.
Barrett's involvement in the project came when local dentist Hadleigh Reid showed him a photograph five months ago of the cargo vessel, sitting in Tauranga's port, that had been transformed into a volunteer aid ship.
Barrett, who has previously repaired and installed dental and other medical equipment, got to work inside the container that was donated by Emmetts Civil Construction.
Emmetts Civil Construction also collected the finished container and delivered it to the port to be lifted onto the ship.
Three public events will run over the weekend from November 22-24 to give the public the chance to explore the ship.
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Reid said the events will give the public an opportunity to see the ship and find out about the work it will be carrying out in the Pacific.
He has recently sent invitations to dentists in the Manawatū-Whanganui region and asked nurses and doctors to spread the word that on Saturday afternoon medical professionals will be welcome to come and see what is involved.
Reid hopes this will gain interest from dentists who are willing to volunteer some of their time to travel on the ship and carry out work in the Pacific.
"[These events] are for the whole public because a ship isn't just after people that are medically trained to work on it because a ship is like a small city so you need carpenters, electricians, plumbers, engineers and cooks."
He said it is about public education but also saying: "Hey, this is what we're going to be doing and if anyone wants to help out then they're most welcome."
Reid knows from previous experience working on a YWAM Ship in Tauranga the cost of running and maintaining a ship and said they are always looking for people to contribute financially as well.
Emmett said they all just really want to help people and the goal is to use it in the Pacific to bring free healthcare to people in isolated communities who cannot access it.
He hopes it will be able to provide dentistry, eye surgery, vaccinations and primary health care like bandaging wounds and giving basic instruction on how to be responsible for their own healthcare.
For now, they are focused on dental equipment as, Emmett said, they felt dental care can help people quickly.
Currently, the organisation is talking with the Solomon Islands government about its needs and has three ships in Papua New Guinea working with the government there.
Barrett's container will sit alongside two others that Emmett said they were hoping to turn into a pharmacy, a room for general consultation and, potentially, a TB testing room.
The hope is to eventually leave all containers on the islands to become independent after the ship leaves.
Barrett said the container is up to standard to be left to run independently.
"It has water tanks in it that probably have an estimated week's worth of water on board and a week's worth of waste, all they need is to put it into a main outlet or a generator and they can just go for gold."
The ship will set sail on November 28 and will return to Tauranga for Christmas and sail to a few more ports recruiting volunteers until the end of April.
The public is welcome on Friday, November 22 from 4pm-7pm, Saturday November 23 from 9am-noon and Sunday, November 24, 2pm-5pm.
To donate to the YWAM Koha visit YWAM's website and specify donations are to go towards the container at https://www.ywamshipsaotearoa.org.nz/donate/