Christchurch’s new state-of-the-art hub for health research and education will open its doors next week.

Manawa is a joint post-quake facility between the Canterbury District Health Board, Ara Institute of Canterbury and University of Canterbury (UC).

The building was blessed on Friday morning, ahead of opening its doors to health students, researchers, educators and technical staff over the coming weeks.

Guests follow ceremonial leaders at the Māori blessing of the new Manawa facility.

Located beside Christchurch Hospital, the three organisations will use it for training and research, in particular nurses, medical imaging specialists and midwives. Postgraduate health researchers and current health professionals will also be housed in the building.

Ara chief executive Tony Gray said the new facility would allow its programmes and people to grow and develop.

“It  will deliver better outcomes for students, for patients, for health professionals and for the sustainable future of the health sector in Canterbury and New Zealand.”

As well as lecture rooms and flexible learning spaces, tutorials and large group sessions, a simulation floor will enable large-scale simulations in real world healthcare environments.

It will also allow students access to advanced clinical equipment that they would normally only see during placements.

The chief executives of Ara, Canterbury DHB and UC are taken on a guided tour of Manawa by Becky Hickmott and Stella Ward.

Canterbury DHB executive director of allied health Stella Ward said prior to the Canterbury earthquakes it had already identified challenges with its teaching and simulation facilities.

“The Health Precinct concept provided an amazing opportunity for us to quite literally come together in this fantastic, state-of-the-art facility as the new home for our region’s health education and research activities. We have had great working relationships with both Ara and UC and co-location will enhance these.”

Different groups will begin training in the new building this month, with Ara midwifery and medical imaging students due to begin classes next week. Nursing students are expected on site in term four, with an official opening planned for October.

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