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The six-person inquiry panel visited Oamaru on Tuesday.
The inquiry wants to hear from local communities on what is working well, not working well, what could be done better and what sort of society would be best for the mental health of the population.
Panel member Sir Mason Durie said Oamaru's closed meeting with several community groups that represented different age groups and ethnicities was ''very positive''.
''It was a great meeting. All of them talked about the unique situation Oamaru and the Waitaki deals with and talked about how the health system needs to take into account a large area, especially a rural district and how things are fitting into that.
''They gave us great insight into what it meant to have a community base for health services and the fine work that people had done here, which was quite amazing to hear. It was very encouraging and we appreciate the work very much they are doing.
"It helped us very much and a lot we hadn't heard too much of before.''
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