Group to tackle local healthcare

Representing the newly formed community-led advocacy group Health Action Wānaka are steering...
Representing the newly formed community-led advocacy group Health Action Wānaka are steering committee members (from left) Lucy Middendorf, Monique Mayze and Brigid Loughnan. PHOTO: REGAN HARRIS
Wānaka’s struggle to increase healthcare services might be more akin to a marathon than a sprint, but a newly-formed community group have said they are ready for the challenge.

Officially created in the wake of last month’s public health forum at the Lake Wānaka Centre, Health Action Wānaka is a community-led advocacy group that intends to act as a voice for the community on matters of healthcare provision across the Upper Clutha.

Steering committee member Monique Mayze said the group plans to work with both community members and stakeholders in the area to acquire a clear grasp of the key issues affecting the healthcare sector.

"The main thing is, we want to understand better what the community’s needs are, what the barriers are and how we can help move those barriers."

She said that since their website and Facebook page went live on Tuesday, the number and nature of responses they received from the public had been promising.

Among the objectives listed on Health Action Wānaka’s website were a desire to see after-hours care return within six months, the establishment of a blood-collection centre in Wānaka in the next year, and the creation of a publicly funded hospital in Cromwell over the next decade.

Ms Mayze said it was important for everyone to acknowledge that the work involved in improving the region’s healthcare options was going to be "a marathon, not a sprint".

"We have some short-term goals that we think are achievable, but there’s some long-term visions here, so it will take a while. And that’s OK, we’ll keep going."

The group are welcoming individuals with applicable skills and knowledge to come forward offering support, and also hope to eventually develop case studies by collating the experiences of individuals seeking treatment through the current healthcare system.

Those wishing to learn more or join the group’s mailing list can visit their website, Facebook page, or contact them at