“Hey . . . I’ve got this idea.”
These five small words, uttered by Gisborne Registered Master Builders Association president Kath Kitchen about 18 months ago, sparked the journey to the September opening of Tui Te Ora, Gisborne’s new one-stop-shop community health centre for people with diabetes and chronic illness.
As the association’s then new president, Kath wanted to raise the group’s profile and continue its vision of working for the community. Various options had been explored, including building a spec house, as other Registered Master Builders Associations had done, and donating the proceeds to charity.
“But we had to face reality. The cost of sections was high and we were facing a recession,” Kath says.
“We didn’t have the members for a 24-hour build and, if the spec house didn’t sell straight away, we couldn’t afford the holding costs.”
The Gisborne association was disheartened but determined to keep its vision a top priority. Shortly afterwards, Kath had a eureka moment while wearing her Hospital Advisory Committee member’s hat, and the idea began to form of building a community facility instead.
“The concept of a chronic care facility was discussed at the Hospital Advisory Committee meeting in February last year, and I just put two and two together.
“I got permission to talk to Francis Yates first, and I just said, ‘Hey I’ve got this idea’. The master builders will never let me forget it. First, we talked about building one house, and suddenly we were working towards building something the size of three.”
The project ticked all the boxes. “It was a charity cause, was showcasing our work, covered a big percentage of the community and was going to be interesting.”
Involved with the Gisborne RMBA for about 25 years, Kath is excited to see the finished product. While the countless hours of work and several sleepless nights have been tough, she has learned a lot — including how to ask for things for nothing.
“It has been a huge learning curve about how charities work, and has done so much for our group. It has changed the dynamics, brought us together and we have a whole new respect for each other.
“It was wonderful to gain the support we did from trusts and so many trades and service people.
“With Gisborne RMBA on the sign, all the workers can own their efforts for a lifetime.”
• The 23-room Tui Te Ora has a floor area of 335 sq m and a stud height of 2700mm.
• Foundations are concrete blockwork with hardfill under a concrete floor.
• The building is constructed from timber framing with timber roof trusses, Colorsteel
roof and James Hardie weatherboard exterior cladding.
• Windows are double-glazed, while exterior walls and ceilings are lined with
• Some rooms are lined with a double layer of Noiseline gib board to help improve
• The building complies with all codes, is fully fitted with fire sprinklers, and equipped
with medical gases. It also has a dedicated power supply to IT and medical
• The centre will house a range of expert health professionals, including specialist
doctors, psychologists, clinical nurse specialists, dieticians, a retinal screening
service and podiatrists.
• Quantity surveyors have valued the building at $935,000.