Project Office Blog

New Endoscopy Unit Work Begins

The Whangarei Hospital endoscopy service currently operates from two separate locations; one in the theatre complex and the second in the medical outpatient zone. The service is to be relocated and consolidated to provide a more streamlined service for both acute and elective endoscopy procedures. A new unit is to be built in the old […]

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Northland DHB Hospital Redevelopment Private: Tumanako

Project Ceremonies

Blessing of Site & Turning the Sod

On Friday, 24 September, ancient rituals were held to bless the whenua and to Whakatokia riwai – to lift tapu. The haunting sounds of the putatara (conch shell trumpet), purerehua, pahu and koauau greeted guests as they were lead to the sacred site where Te Parawhau Chiefs were once selected and named.

Northland DHB’s kaumatua Te Ihi Tito remembered Ponaharaheke, the Chief of the Pa Pukauakua and acknowledged how the new unit will benefit mental health patients and the staff who will care for them. Traditionally, the men would have tiled the land in preparation for the women and young men to plant crops for the health and wellbeing of the tribe.

“At the Whakatokia ceremony, Maori riwai were planted at the breaking of dawn. If the ground is fertile and healthy, the riwai will flourish. This will be seen as a spiritual blessing indicating the ground is healthy for the spiritual birthing and construction of the new mental health inpatient unit,” he said.

“The pre dawn blessing was a culturally significant event and it was great to do this with the Mainzeal team as we believe the event would help them better understand the site’s cultural importance,” said Northland DHB director of strategic projects, Brett Halvorson.

A turning the sod ceremony, also known as groundbreaking, is a traditional ceremony that celebrates the first day of construction, was held later in the day. Member of Parliament and Minister of Housing and Minister of Fisheries & Aquaculture, Hon Phil Heatley, joined Agnes Daniels, a staff member, in ‘turning the sod’. Agnes is the Northland DHB manager of Te Roopu Kimiora, which provides child and adolescent mental health services.

Northland DHB kaumatua Te Ihi Tito and Rev Heather Haack lead the site blessings which provides spiritual safety for the builders and the project throughout the construction.


Whakatokia Riwai, left to right: Northland DHB’s kaumatua Te Ihi Tito, Kaumatua Paddy Tito (obscured) and Kaumatua Pari Walker


Turning of Sod ceremony, left to right: Brett Halvorson (NDHB director of strategic projects), Kim Tito (NDHB service development & funding and Maori health general manager), Agnes Daniels (NDHB manager of Te Roopu Kimiora), Hon Phil Heatley (Minister of Housing and Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture) and Tony Norman (NDHB chair).

Burial and Blessing of the Mauri Stone

On Friday 5 November, ancient rituals were held to bless and bury the Mauri Stone lifeforce in the foundations of the new mental health inpatient unit. The haunting sounds of the putatara (conch shell trumpet) and purerehua greeted guests as they were led to the area of the nurse’s station where the stone was to be buried.

Northland DHB’s Kaumatua Te Ihi Tito remembered Ponaharakeke, the Chief of the Pa Pukauakaua and acknowledged how the new unit will benefit mental health patients and the staff who will care for them.

The Parawhau Hapu thanked and acknowledged Mainzeal and all the sub contractors who would be working on the site. They also acknowledged the Northland DHB.


The Mauri Stone lowered into the foundations, left to right: Northland DHB Kim Tito, Kaumatua Fred Tito (obscured), Northland DHB’s Kaumatua Te Ihi Tito and Kaumatua Pari Walker.

Official Opening and Dawn Blessing 7 October 2011

Despite the challenging conditions of the weather and numerous tradesmen and delivery vehicles coming and going, contractors have all put in a solid effort to get the entire building and landscaping looking fabulous.

A very spiritual and moving 5 am Dawn Blessing followed by the Official Opening of “Tumanako” by the Minister of Health, Tony Ryall, took place this morning.

The unveiling of the new carving above the Whanau door revealed a stunning piece of master craftsmanship and the equally magical pou are standing proudly to greet you as you approach the entrance to Tumanako.

In the main reception area, you are immediately drawn to the stunning mural of photographic artwork that was created from a selection of works submitted by some of the patients and the Tuku Tuku that was brought down from the old Unit takes pride of place here as well.

The interior of the building is state of the art with the latest in modern technology being installed, along with beneficial apparatus such exercycles, X-Box and fitness games, and sensory and art rooms, all provided to assist patients on their road to recovery. The interior decorating encompasses brightly coloured feature walls, modern leather cubes and couches and natural inbuilt wood furniture.