On Tuesday 7 February, Paataka Place opened its doors to the thousands of staff, visitors and patients who come through Middlemore Hospital every day. People were met with a modern and welcoming retail space with a range of shops which include Columbus Coffee, Elixir Expresso, little goodness, Subway, Send-a-Basket and Haumanu Pharmacy.
While I was ordering my coffee, I noticed the excited buzz of the staff around me, as they commented on how lovely it was to have a range of shops and eating places to choose from.
One lady said it was like being a kid in a candy store – there was so much on offer.
While I can assure you there was no candy in sight, I was delighted to see the range of healthy food and beverages available.
This was a deliberate choice and a commitment from CM Health to provide healthier food and drink options as we work towards accommodating the National Healthy Food and Drink Policy. With diabetes and obesity on the rise, I believe we have a responsibility, as health professionals and as a health organisation to lead by example and make choosing healthy options the right and easy thing to do.
I’m also a firm believer that what we put into our bodies affects how well or unwell we feel. Since having my bariatric surgery, I now stop and think about what I’m putting in my body. When I eat healthy foods I have more energy and feel more mentally and physically on top of things.
That’s why I was drawn to ‘little goodness’ run by Steph Martin and her partner Karl Kippenberger. Serving mainly organic and locally grown produce, little goodness is the first of its kind in New Zealand to open an organic grocer within a public hospital. Steph’s story is amazing, which started when she was in desperate need of good-quality food for her young son, to nurse him back to good health. Unable to work and as a single mum of two, Steph was out of options, so she invested the last of her money on a lease for a tiny shop, called the Goodness Grocer in Waiuku. Following its success, Steph then opened a shop in Pukekohe and recently little goodness at Middlemore Hospital. Her amazing journey from self-confessed packet pasta cook to organic food entrepreneur has helped her to turn over a new leaf and she is now a walking encyclopaedia of wellness.
If you have the time, check out little goodness and all of our other retailers. As I walked from the Galbraith Building to Ko Awatea I counted five places where you can get a good cup of coffee. That’s great news for all the coffee lovers out there.
CM Health is especially proud of our very own Haumanu Pharmacy, which features the use of robotics to make dispensing more efficient and safer. While the technology has been used in different settings, it is the first time they have been bought together in this manner in a community pharmacy environment in New Zealand.
To all of our retailers congratulations on a successful opening and well done to everyone involved in making Paataka Place a reality. Many thanks to Kaumatua Whitiora Cooper and Kuia Taui Thompson for helping to come up with the name Paataka Place which means food storage.
I look forward to seeing you there.