Whare Aroha Care has been given a lifeline from BayTrust enabling it to continue construction on its new dementia village, but is still a little short on funds.

The planned village on the shores of Lake Rotorua at Ngongotaha has been modelled to look like a typical New Zealand town with a main street including supermarket, cafe, hairdressers and clubrooms which flows down to a lakeside promenade.

BayTrust chief executive Alastair Rhodes said BayTrust had conditionally committed to providing Whare Aroha Care with a $1.5 million low-interest loan.

He said it was on the basis of the "significant social and economic benefits that this will bring to Rotorua and some of our most vulnerable citizens".


Whare Aroha Care chief executive and project lead Therese Jeffs said they were extremely grateful.

"As a not-for-profit charitable trust we had some equity, but not enough to fund the project between ourselves and our bank so we are reliant on funding bodies to make up the shortfall."

In December, Whare Aroha Care needed another $4 million to complete the site and Mrs Jeffs said the loan had gone a long way but it still needed another $1.6 million. "We will be asking our supporters to see whether there is anything more they can do to ensure that this radical blueprint, that gives us all hope, is created here in Rotorua.

"Thankfully, BayTrust have recognised not only the special way we care for people now, but also how we will care for them in the future.

"They can see we have turned the expiry of our lease into an opportunity to allow the people of Rotorua who suffer dementia, a chance to live a better life.

"We are lucky organisations like BayTrust, and the community they represent, can see our vision because once you know there is a better way, you want nothing less for your treasured elderly."

She said the funding would help to complete stages one and two of the build which included 13 six to seven-bedroom homes and the reception building. "The homes are designed so residents can participate in the activities of the home as best they can," Mrs Jeffs said.

She said the homes would have their own individual style, inside and out, representing one of seven different New Zealand lifestyles.

"The idea is that, instead of institutionalising people with dementia, you create as-near-a-normal lifestyle that they recognise from a time before dementia stripped them of their memories."

Mrs Jeffs said the project was going really well.

"The framing is up on several of the households which is exciting to see. There is a lot to do, but we are on track to move in December."

-To help, call Whare Aroha Care on (07) 347 9612.