Whanganui Hospital's Community Mental Health and Addictions Service building will now officially be known as Te Kōpae - 'the nest'.

The building was known by the name Te Kōpae but the Whanganui District Health Board has officially named it that to celebrate Māori Language Week.

Originally the building was called Newcombe Ward and it recently celebrated its 80th birthday.

The building was given its new name by kaumatua John Maihi to reflect the "nurturing and supportive nature and quality" of the services provided there today.

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Community Mental Health and Addictions Service clinical nurse manager Sue Duff said Te Kōpae held special significance for the staff who worked in the building.

Under a new model of care the district health board has put general practices into four different categories, each with a different te reo name.

The first is Matai (inside warmth), which represents Te Oranganui Medical Centre and Aramoho Health Centre.

Ponga (finding your way) is for Eastcare Medical, Jabulani Medical Centre, Castlecliff Health Ltd and Wicksteed House Medical Centre.

Then there's Mānuka (healing properties), which includes Impilo Family Practice, Gonville Health Ltd, Springvale Medical Centre and St Johns Medical Centre.

Ti Rākau (developing and maintain relationships) represents the regional practices at Bulls, Taihape, Marton and Raetihi.

"We are here to assist tangata whaiora to feel safe, develop personally and 'fly the nest' to have full, meaningful and independent futures," Duff said.

"As a team we are aware of the history of Te Kōpae and the big shoes that those before us have left for us to fill."