A world-class facility on the shore of Lake Rotorua has officially opened its doors and is poised to change the face of aged care in New Zealand.
The CARE Village, in Ngongotaha, which has been three years in the making, is an aged care community offering hospital, rest home and dementia-level care.
Developed by Whare Aroha CARE and modelled on the De Hogeweyk village in Holland, it's the first of its kind in New Zealand.
The village was built on a 1.3ha lakeside site to replicate a small-scale New Zealand town with cafes, a supermarket and main street.
Residents were moved from Whare Aroha Care's original premises to the new facility six months ago and the village is now taking on new residents, chief executive Therese Jeffs said.
"Our households are working so well now, we want to show new families and their loved ones around the incredible place we have created," Jeffs said.
"It is our hope that our home-like lifestyle model of care becomes the way things are done throughout New Zealand."
The village has been designed to allow people to live in households with their own kitchens, dining rooms and laundries, with professional support and carers available.
Rotorua MP Todd McClay attended the opening ceremony and said the new village was exceptional.
"The De Hogeweyk Dutch village is ahead of its time … We can proudly now say that Rotorua, as far as care for our seniors, is also world-leading," he said.
"It's the best facility anywhere in New Zealand and others will come and visit, they'll come and have a look and they too will follow us."
Co-founder of the Dutch village, Jannette Spiering, also attended the opening and said the new village was another step towards changing the lives of those needing professional care.
"The fact that people with dementia can continue their lives in a normal surrounding supported by professional staff adds so much to their quality of life," Spiering said.
"Traditional nursing homes are very confusing for people with dementia... This style of care is just the first step in creating normalcy for people with dementia and their families."
Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick said she was thrilled to see the facility open.
"It's really a first for Rotorua," Chadwick said.
"The Ministry of Health have really gone out on a limb to fund a new model."
The development was previously reported to have cost an estimated $8.7 million overall.
Chadwick said the village had also been supported with donations and sponsors.
Plans for the village were announced in late 2014 and work began in late 2015.
The village has 13 six and seven-bedroom households connected by paths.
Auckland University of Technology is currently undertaking research in partnership with the CARE Village into the impact of environment on quality of life and memory for those with dementia. It will be complete by March 2020.