A dementia village under construction in Ngongotaha is attracting international attention.

Rotorua dementia care leader and Whare Aroha Care chief executive Therese Jeffs has been invited to present her research at conferences in Australia.

Mrs Jeffs is project leader for the Whare Aroha Care Village opening in Ngongotaha later this year.

She said she was surprised to receive an invitation to Alzheimer Australia's 'Great Expectations research conference' in Canberra this weekend.


"It's very humbling that something we felt we had no other choice but to do is being held up as exemplary.

"When we started designing our village to give people with dementia a better life, we knew it would be transformational but it didn't occur to us that it would attract worldwide attention."

Mrs Jeffs has also been invited to speak on "Designing for Quality' at the Australian and New Zealand Society for Geriatric Medicine Annual Scientific Meeting in Rotorua this May.

The Whare Aroha CARE Village is modelled on the acclaimed De Hogeweyk dementia village in Amsterdam, and will be the first in the world to replicate its vision.

Last week a delegation from Noosa Care in Australia visited the site and saw the concept for themselves.

"People who know De Hogeweyk, and are familiar with research on dementia, will know the De Hogeweyk vision is the way of the future but because it is yet to be replicated there is no blueprint for how to put a new model of care into practice," she said.

"To transform the way people are cared for means evolving the whole system - from Ministry of Health contracts, to the design of the environment itself, to the daily tasks of our staff".

When completed the village will look like a small scale New Zealand town, complete with a supermarket, cafe, hairdresser and clubrooms on a street which flows down to a lakeside promenade.


The village will also contain 13 six and seven bedroom homes, which look like replica New Zealand houses.

Whare Aroha CARE is a community-owned, not-for- profit charitable trust governed by Rotorua Continuing Care Trust.