Hato Hone St John was thrilled to officially open the new Waihau Bay ambulance station and dedicate a new Waka Ora Health Shuttle into service for the Waihau Bay community last Wednesday 14 September 2022.

Hato Hone St John Vice-Chancellor Brendan Wood attended the special ceremony to celebrate the opening, along with local iwi Te Whānau a Apanui, Ōpotiki Mayor Lyn Riesterer and benefactors Scott Cummings of Bay Trust and Doug Leeder of the Bay of Plenty Regional Council. Attendees also included representatives from Trust Horizon, local area committee members, volunteers, staff and supporters.

Christine Elmiger, Hato Hone St John Ōpōtiki Area Committee Member (and now Hato Hone St John Health Shuttle Team Leader, Waihau Bay), has been a driving force in the team planning and fundraising for the station over the past eight years, and says she is delighted to see it open and start supporting the hauora (wellbeing) of the local community.

“This is a great achievement for the Hato Hone St John Ōpōtiki Area Committee and all those who have supported the opening of the station,” Ms Elmiger says.

“This building will be a wonderful asset for the community and Hato Hone St John is incredibly grateful to everyone involved for getting it across the line, from conception to completion. We now have a space where we can welcome more volunteers to be part of our community health programmes like our Waka Ora Health Shuttle, which has just been launched with a great deal of support from the community and regional council.”

The new station is the base for the Health Shuttle and its volunteer drivers who will collect it to pick up whānau from their homes, take them to health appointments locally and in wider Bay of Plenty locations such as Whakātane Hospital, then return them home.

Lindsay Sattler, Hato Hone St John Area Operations Manager Eastern Bay of Plenty, says it is beneficial for everyone that the Waihau Bay Waka Manaaki (ambulance), emergency service staff and volunteers to have a local base too.

“This new fit-for-purpose station includes an ambulance bay, a space designed to be used as a training and meeting room, a separate kitchen area and an office for staff and volunteers – all to better support our people, our whanau and our community,” Mr Sattler says.

EDITORS NOTES:                                                                    

-       The Health Shuttle service is staffed by trained St John volunteers to help people get to their GP, dentist, specialist, or day surgery appointments. Some shuttle vehicles are fitted with hoists to assist passengers who have restricted mobility.

-       Hato Hone St John provides emergency ambulance services to 90 percent of New Zealanders and covers 97 percent of the country’s geographical area, through a mix of full-time paid employees and volunteer kaimahi (staff).

-       Along with the emergency ambulance service, Hato Hone St John operates a significant number of community health programmes, social enterprises and other activities which help build community resilience including St John Health Shuttles.

-       Anyone wishing to find out more about the shuttle service in the Waihau Bay area should call the national booking number on Ph 0800 925 2672



Amy Milne

Hato Hone St John External Communications Specialist

M 027 5037523

E amy.milne@stjohn.org.nz



Hato Hone St John media team


PH 0800 756 334

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