Wellness Centre for Teens Opened — Stuff

ARISE Church has been serving God, people and our community since 2002. Here's a media article from the past that provides a glimpse into the journey.
Original article hosted here

The Government would not come to the party with funding but the Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector, Tariana Turia, performed the official opening of the Arise Wellness Centre at the Hutt Valley Teen Parent School Titiro Whakamua last Thursday.

Mrs Turia, Maori Party co-leader and Associate Minister of Health, said the new facility fundraised for, planned and built by Wellington's Arise Church was the "absolute expression" of manaaki tanga (caring and welfare).

She offered mihi (congratulations) to the Teen Parent School's young women.

"This is about your future. You are here by choice because you want to have a better life for you and your tamariki."

Mrs Turia, who visited the centre about 18 months ago, said it was "very sad" that some did not see it that way, a reference to the ministry not providing a sick bay and medical room where pregnant women could be examined by midwives.

People would not be expected to lie on the floor in a hospital for an examination, she said.

Mrs Turia cut the ribbon to officially open the centre with help, at her suggestion, from a mokopuna, Lukus Taplin, at 2 years 6 months the oldest in the adjacent early childhood centre.

The school was the first purpose-built one in New Zealand but designed without a sick bay and medical room.

Others were built with the extra facilities but the Hutt Valley unit, in Miro St, Wallaceville, even supported by local MPs, was refused Ministry of Education funding and told its floor space was sufficient.

After the ministry agreed the centre could build its own if it could find the money, the Upper Hutt Leader published an article about its plight.

Stokes Valley resident Julie Wong Kee read the article and told her husband, Arise Church pastor Ivan Wong Kee it would be a good project for the church, which had just built a playground in Newtown.

More than a year of fundraising and weekly planning meetings followed and church members built the facility, worth $120,000, in an 18-hour stint one Saturday in May. The project also received support from others connected to the unit.

The unit named the new facility in honour of the church.

Head teacher Debbie Whiteley said former student Jade had started the campaign in 2005 with a PowerPoint presentation.

A presentation to a Zonta meeting resulted in a grant.

Upper Hutt City Council refunded the unit's building consent fees.

Mayor Wayne Guppy told the opening the project showed the strength of the community. It was "ludicrous" that the women had gone without the facilities.

Student Jashziel Smart said it was "very uncomfortable" lying on the floor in a tiny office with her legs under the table and chairs and her head facing the door for an examination, especially towards the end of her pregnancy because there was no proper facility with a bed.

Mrs Whiteley said it was also hard on midwives to have to kneel on the floor, especially if they had been up all night delivering a baby.

Rosemary McLennan

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