The Southern District Health Board (SDHB) today unveils an aspirational site masterplan, Te Whakaari, that sets out a vision for the development of a world-leading Health and Education Precinct in central Dunedin.
Chief Executive Chris Fleming says the SDHB has worked with local rūnaka, tertiary institutions and other stakeholders to develop a plan that will enhance Dunedin’s city centre.
“The Health and Education Precinct will be a thriving hub for healthcare, learning and mahi. Along with our new hospital, it will offer greenspaces, additional healthcare services, and vibrant retail. Te Whakaari promotes an exciting vision for Dunedin that will support equitable healthcare and the mauri ora of our communities,” Mr Fleming says.
Occupying much of the Dunedin CBD area between the current hospital and Lower Stuart Street, the precinct will support the revitalisation of the central city.
“Te Whakaari focuses on wellbeing, equity, sustainability, adapting to the effects of climate change, and contributing to a sense of local identity,” Mr Fleming says.
The masterplan supports the Dunedin City Council’s Central City Plan, with the Health and Education Precinct providing a link between the Tertiary Precinct to the north and the Cultural and Entertainment Quarter to the south.
“It will also strengthen the hospital’s existing bonds with local rūnaka, the University of Otago, and Otago Polytechnic,” Mr Fleming says.
The precinct design features three phases of development: short-term (until 2030), medium-term (until 2040) and long-term (until 2080).
The short-term plan includes the completion of the New Dunedin Hospital, a 500-car parking facility also suitable for electric vehicles and cycles, the development of an Interprofessional Learning Centre for student learning, and a Translational Research Centre. During this phase, it is hoped that developers will provide retail activity in the precinct.
The medium-term plan sees Southern Blood and Cancer Services moving south of the New Dunedin Hospital, where it could be a comprehensive standalone centre. Additionally, the existing ‘Dairy Building’ could be repurposed as a Cancer Support Centre and/or Health Rehabilitation Centre.
The long-term plan allows room for the development of future services.
Spaces between buildings are set aside for a ‘green spine’ to encourage pedestrian and social activity at the heart of the precinct. The ‘green spine’ forms part of a larger ‘greenway loop,’ and works in tandem with planned upgrades to Dunedin’s retail quarter.
As the SDHB transitions to Health New Zealand, the Site Masterplan will help inform future infrastructure decisions for Dunedin and, more broadly, the Southern District.
“Te Whakaari is a vision and a roadmap for the stakeholders of the future,” Mr Fleming says. “It will enhance Dunedin’s reputation as a centre for health, innovation and education.”
Interprofessional Learning Centre (ILC)
An educational facility that will educate University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic learners in the team-based, patient-centred methods they will use throughout their careers.
A centre for population, clinical and translational research, and innovation, with a focus on application to healthcare practice and supporting wellbeing.
Southern Blood and Cancer Services (SBCS)
The SBCS is a combined clinical service facility that will remain in its existing (c1990s) location at the corner of Hanover and Cumberland streets until around 2032.
Emergency psychiatric services will be served by the New Dunedin Hospital. The Health Board believes that Wakari is a better location for long stay inpatient services than the city campus, and is working on plans to improve the Wakari facilities.
The June 2021 report ‘A Time for Change: Te hurihanga’ reviewed the mental health service in the Southern region and recommended improving the physical environments of existing mental health facilities. This recommendation has been endorsed by the SDHB, and the health board is in active discussions about options for the Wakari-based services with the Ministry of Health.
Toni Gutschlag, Executive Director Mental Health, Addictions, and Intellectual Disability Services, says that well-designed therapeutic environments are critical to the success of mental health services.
“There’s a lot of evidence around what good looks like, and that includes space, light, access to green space, and places for people to be together or be alone. We want the very best facilities for the people of the Southern district – and that’s what we’re actively working towards,” Ms Gutschlag says.
About the development of Te Whakaari
- An architecture partnership led the engagement and design process.
- Partnership with mana whenua was facilitated through the engagement of Ōtepoti Dunedin-based consultancy Aukaha, representing local rūnaka. The name Te Whakaari can mean ‘the promise’, so it reminds us of the promises of hospitals and schools for Māori in Kemp’s Deed. It is an appropriate name for a precinct masterplan with a vision of enabling equitable healthcare and flourishing wellbeing for all.
- Engagement included interactive wānaka and input from the Ministry of Health, Kāi Tahu, Dunedin City Council, Otago Regional Council, the University of Otago, Otago Polytechnic and Waka Kotahi/NZTA.
- International benchmark projects were reviewed as part of the planning process, with key lessons including the importance of keeping the character and heritage of the city, providing greenspace connectivity, ensuring ease of mobility and use of public transport, and creating partnerships with commercial enterprise.