27 Nov 2012

Maori leader mourns loss of 'unique' care service

6:59 pm on 27 November 2012

A Maori medical leader says the top of the South Island is losing a unique kaupapa Maori health institution, with the closure of Te Rapuora o te Waiharakeke.

The trust has run out of money due to no new direct funding and rising operating costs, such as petrol and heating bills.

The Nelson Marlborough District Health Board is helping to find other providers to take over the services for 700 clients who need care, particularly mental health support.

The DHB's director of Maori health, Harold Wereta, says the service has become well known since being set up from scratch 26 years ago.

He says Te Rapuora has good iwi connections, which helps it to deliver a specialised service to Maori.

Mr Wereta says the community is losing a well-known unique institution, and skilled staff could lose their jobs - unless existing health providers hire them.