I spent Friday at the blessing and official opening of the new Kawerau Medical Centre. It was a fun and inspirational day.
Inspirational because of the vision and sheer guts of the owners, Dr Emily Hermanson and her business partner Lance McNicholas. (They are engaged to each other as well as partners in the new practice - the amount of time spent gutting and refurbishing the building meant they haven't yet had time to get married.)
KMC is the first new medical centre opened in the Bay of Plenty for at least five years, and is distinctive for its Maori ownership.
I've had the privilege of working with Emily in a small way. The Telehealth Project I'm working on has set the place up with video capability. (The pic shows Ministers Tony Ryall and Anne Tolley during the opening.)
Despite the bitterly cold day and a couple of hours standing on freezing concrete, I wouldn't have missed it. The history of the venture was fascinating. Its taken less than 6 months from concept to opening. Emily has been a GP in nearby Edgecumbe ("I was happy doing what I was doing") until Lance talked her into taking the bold move.
The place is a work of art - great murals crafted by their whanau, outstanding landscaping, spacious and clean lines. Room for 4 GPs, and Emily is sure it will grow to that point over time.
So am I.
Its inspiring to watch people with guts and vision back their ideas. These two deserve to succeed. There is a clear need to fill - Kawerau has been desperately short of medical services.
Good luck, guys!