30 Aug 2019

The commmunity that kept on giving - Otorohanga funds its own medical centre

From Country Life, 9:15 pm on 30 August 2019

The King Country town of Otorohanga has a brand new medical centre thanks to the generosity of its local community.

The  $3.4 million, architecturally-designed building opened in June and is debt-free after local families dug deep into their pockets.

Dr Joyce Wong, who works at Otorohanga Medical, says a retired local farmer, John Oliver, walked in one day and surprised everybody with a $500,000 donation.

"And (he) came back the next day and said 'Actually I think a $500,000 donation is a little bit stingy. I'm going to double that amount.'

"It was just astounding. It was a major game-changer for us."

The Knutson family also gave $1 million and 70 families donated $10,000 each at a fundraiser.

The new medical centre has GP consulting rooms; x-ray, blood-testing and ultrasound facilities, rooms for visiting specialists and a pharmacy.

The building is owned by The Otorohanga Charitable Trust.

Its chairperson Kim Ingham says the rent collected from health providers using the facility will be distributed to benefit the Otorohanga community.

Each year $100,000 will be available.

She says local people are thrilled with the new centre. She says some services that had to be accessed in Hamilton are now available at home.

"People using the facility, they just cant' believe it. They've said 'This should be in Hamilton, this should be in Auckland. Why have we got it in Otorohanga?' And you know, we've got it because we've got a really incredible community."