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The hard work of Maniototo residents was acknowledged by the Health Minister and community leaders at yesterday's opening of the new Maniototo Hospital in Ranfurly.
More than 100 residents were present as the multimillion-dollar project was officially signed off by hospital leaders and Health Minister Dr David Clark.
The $7 million development includes 29 new beds and a transformation of existing rest-home facilities into a medical centre and community services facility.
The Government granted $1 million for the project, following a pre-election funding pledge from former Labour leader Andrew Little.
Other contributions included $2 million from the Maniototo Community Board, to be indemnified by ratepayers.
The Otago Community Trust granted the project $500,000 alongside local Lions groups, who donated $250,000.
An amount of $2.5 million was paid through hospital reserves.
"It's pretty special to celebrate the efforts of a community who have come together to make real a dream of providing quality health services for their community.
"It's wonderful to see your vision come to fruition.''
Speaking to the Otago Daily Times, Health Services Ltd chairman Stuart Paterson said the new facility sets a benchmark.
"We've got a great service here now,'' he said.
"We've got a helicopter that can get here fairly quickly. We would compete with anywhere in New Zealand in terms of health facilities now.''
Central Otago mayor Tim Cadogan said the opening "meant a lot of things on a lot of levels''.
"As people age, healthcare becomes increasingly important.
"This facility is integral to the continued growth and development and livability of the Maniototo.''