Great Barrier Island / Aotea is home to an isolated rural community spread across a rugged, bush covered main island and several offshore islands. Lying 88km north east of Auckland Central City, the Island protects the waters of the inner Hauraki Gulf. The eastern coast is wild with long wave swept sand beaches, and towering cliffs. The western coast has several deep harbours and many mangrove coves and inlets.
Year-round residents’ number about 1000, while tourist / bach owner / boaties numbers over a busy summer season can peak at 15,000 on any one day.
The island has no reticulated power or sewerage. There is no bank or ATM. There is no High School, Early Child Care facility, Cottage Hospital, Rest Home, medical laboratory, physiotherapist, or undertaker.
Transport to and from the mainland is expensive and weather dependent. There is no public transport on the island and freight charges increase costs across all categories of consumables; particularly petrol / diesel, and food / cooking gas.
The Great Barrier Island Community Health Trust (the Trust) was formed as a response to this unique situation; a creative Island based solution to its social / health needs. The community run the Trust. it consists of 9 trustees; six representing the community (each elected tri-annually) and one each representing Ngati Rehua – Ngati Wai ki Aotea, the practising doctors, the practising nurses. The Trust is not contracted to provide health services, but rather is a community based charitable trust.
The mission of the Trust is simple but concise;
To equip and maintain excellent health related buildings, vehicles and equipment on behalf of the Aotea/Great Barrier community – thereby enhancing community potential to access healthcare.
To ensure that in providing the excellent health related assets that the quality of life for Maori on Aotea is equitable. Acknowledging Article Two of the Treaty of Waitangi that health is a treasure.
With its particular attention to health, the Health Trust endeavours to establish relevant health related facilities (buildings, vehicles, equipment) on isolated Aotea/Great Barrier Island to ensure that the community’s members are not disadvantaged by living remotely.
With modern, up to date facilities, registered health professionals will be encouraged to work on the Island, and be able to provide equitable and accessible health care.
Thereby the Trust will have taken steps to promote, encourage and create good awareness amongst the community members. It will also maintain liaison with other community groups constituted for the betterment of the people of Aotea/Great Barrier Island.
The Trust owns / maintains and seeks funding for the upkeep of the Community Health Centre at Claris, Community Dental Clinic and the Nurses Cottage. The Trust purchases appropriate medical equipment, maintains / upgrades power systems, communication systems and other intricate sundry apparatus, on behalf of the entire island community. The Trust then leases to Aotea Health Ltd, an island based primary health care provider consisting of a team of health professionals (doctors and nurses), and the best possible health services are delivered to residents and visitors to Great Barrier Island.