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 three main aims of the trust are;
- To equip and maintain the Community Health Centre at Claris, the Community Dental Clinic and the Nurses Cottage at Port Fitzroy (known as The Nurses Cottage), by fund-raising, lobbying, and management of the current resources, including vehicles.
- To devote attention to health on Great Barrier Island and in this regard to take steps to promote, encourage, and create good health awareness within the community.
- To sub-contract to Aotea Family Support Group Trust to employ a community worker on behalf of the residents.
The Trust interfaces closely with “Aotea Health Ltd” a primary health care provider and the team of health professionals on the Island (doctors and nurses). 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 and the best possible health services are delivered to residents and visitors to Great Barrier Island.