Ara and the Te Papa Hauora/Health Precinct

Health precint

Ara is proud to be an integral part of the Te Papa Hauora/Health Precinct, a world-class hub for health education, research and innovation in Christchurch. The Precinct will bring together a network of world class researchers, students and clinicians all located in one central space and all contributing to a vibrant and stimulating environment.

Health Research Education Facility

A flagship entity for Te Papa Hauora/Health Precinct is the Health Research Education Facility (HREF), a single facility where education and research activities are co-located to share infrastructure and to benefit from the synergies created by collaboration.

The HREF project is an exciting opportunity for Ara to build on existing health sector relationships and expand the current nursing and allied health programmes, taking full advantage of latest innovations in health and education. By integrating health research, education and simulation environments/facilities, HREF and Ara will lead New Zealand in the provision of nursing and allied health training.

Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB), University of Canterbury and Ara will be joint tenants in the building, which is being built by NewUrban Group – a Chinese/Canterbury business partnership led by former Christchurch mayor Sir Bob Parker.

Ara students will benefit from working alongside professionals and potential employers and the use of up-to-date equipment and techniques that are available to practising health professionals who share their learning facilities.

The aging population and healthcare workforce creates a demand for high-quality graduate health professionals, and by working together we can ensure are graduates are work ready and highly competent.

Healthcare training at Ara

Ara Institute of Canterbury is home of one of New Zealand’s largest nursing and allied health departments with students across a range of programmes at diploma, degree, graduate and postgraduate levels, with qualifications for students who are entering the professions or for experienced registered nurses and health professionals who wish to further develop their skills and qualifications.

Ara nursing graduates regularly top the employment rates for the country with over 90% finding work before graduation. This compares to the current national overall employment rate of 73.6% for graduating nurses. Close connection with the sector, ongoing demand for nurses and innovative clinical education are the factors attributed with Ara's success.

Bachelor of Midwifery and Bachelor of Medical Imaging programmes at Ara are also highly regarded by the health care sector. Ara graduates from these programmes are well prepared for employment in the community and in health facilities. The vocational training brings together the best of theoretical knowledge and practical, workplace skills gained during clinical experience.

“Ara is moving the nursing courses to the Health Precinct and that makes so much sense. It means nursing students will be interacting with other health professionals much earlier and that will just accelerate the shift to working collaboratively,” Ruth Johnson, newly qualified Bachelor of Nursing graduate from Ara Institute of Canterbury, says.

Ruth Johnson

HREF is underway

The Ara Council has approved the business case for HREF in the context of Ara Regional Master Planning which aims to create more innovative learning environments at all Ara campuses.

It is projected that when HREF opens in 2018 it will be home to 1600 nursing students, 100 midwifery students and 110 medical imaging students.

Current nursing and healthcare facilities at Ara will repurposed in line with the Campus Master Plan of campus development.

HREF - Benefits for Ara healthcare students:

  • Close association with the CDHB and proximity to the Hospital - students are in continuous contact with practicing professionals.
  • Access to CDHB resources and in house expertise in simulation technologies.
  • Involvement in large scale simulations.
  • Access to advanced medical equipment that students would normally only see during their placements.
  • Access to inter-professional models of learning in simulation and practice
  • Gaining valuable real world experience and becoming valuable “work ready” professionals.
  • Working in a collaborative environment within the Health Precinct will stimulate students to return for post graduate study and research once they graduate.
  • Postgraduate and graduate programmes for nurses and allied health professionals will be innovative and able to successfully combine the educational expertise of Ara with the clinical expertise of the DHB and wider health sector staff

The Te Papa Hauora/Health Precinct Advisory Council is a collaboration between CDBH, Ara Institute of Canterbury, University of Canterbury and University of Otago, in consultation with Matapopore (the Ngāi Tūāhuriri earthquake recovery steering group).

Find out more: Te Papa Hauora/Health Precinct website