Manawa celebrates one-year in Christchurch Health Precinct

News News & events

23 Jul 2019

Manawa, part of Christchurch’s world class Health Precinct Te Papa Hauora, celebrates its first anniversary this week.

It opened its doors to 200 Ara Institute of Canterbury (Ara) medical imaging and midwifery students on 23 July 2018. Following the opening, these students were soon joined by over 1500 Ara nursing students and teaching staff, researchers and post-graduate students from the University of Canterbury (UC) as well as Canterbury District Health (CDHB) staff.  

Manawa is a collaboration between the CDHB, Ara and UC. Located adjacent to Christchurch Hospital, it is a state-of-the-art healthcare facility and world-class hub for health education, research and innovation.


The Manawa building is located in Christchurch's Health Precinct adjacent to Christchurch Hospital. 

One of the greatest benefits of the building is the co-location of the three organisations enabling them to work collaboratively for the benefit of the Canterbury health system in nursing, medical imaging and midwifery education.

Today this collaborative partnership is at the forefront of health workforce training in New Zealand.

“The foresight was to bring our organisations together, embed ourselves in a new precinct and from that evolve innovative practice around health, research and workforce development. The fact we have transitioned all of our organisations into one space in a relatively seamless way is evidence of the degree of collaboration and engagement,” says Darren Mitchell, Ara’s Deputy Chief Executive- Chief Operating Officer.

“I know that our staff and students are getting the benefit of being alongside their contemporaries from the CDHB and UC and learning a lot from them, as well as having Christchurch Hospital right on their doorstep. Equally I think it’s allowing us to reflect on what is at the heart of a vocational education experience, which is being very connected to the work and industries that our students want to participate in and giving them that true real-world experience,” says Mitchell.

Stella Ward, Chief Digital Officer from CDHB agrees, “There is a history of a strong nursing partnership between Ara’s teaching clinical placements and the CDHB and we wanted to build on that with the opportunity that Te Papa Hauora provided by having this shared facility.”

“I think Manawa is such a strong presence in the precinct that it helps the city see all the opportunities that exist in the health system. It opens up people to thinking about a health career being more than just medicine and nursing but a broader range of disciplines, as medical imaging, social work  and many other disciplines are starting to come together.”

Manawa’s world-class teaching facilities include a state-of-the-art simulation floor, which features realistic operating theatres, hospital wards, home environments and clinics that are used for training tomorrow’s workforce. Students are also able to perfect their x-ray technique in a safe, radiation-free environment with Virtual Medical Coaching (VMC), a ground-breaking technology that allows real life learning.

“I think the benefit yet to be realised is the innovation and new ways of practice that will happen through the clinical simulation floor and the use of technologies like VR, AR, and high tech simulation and how that will change service-models and models of care delivery, but also how we train people in terms of being ready for work,” says Ward.

Professor Lianne Woodward, Head of School for UC’s College of Education, Health and Human Development sees the partnership as bringing together the Christchurch health sector.

“I think this building is really important in fostering links, collaborations and communications, both in terms of being able to bring in and share resources in a limited resource world, to bring in expertise in areas that we don’t have here in Christchurch, as well as to create a common forum for people working and interacting. It’s not just about the formal connections, it’s about the informal connections too. Whether it’s in a conversation in the coffee queue that turns into a coffee meeting, which turns into a research idea, which turns into a research grant.”

UC has a wide range of health research taking place at Manawa, mainly from the public health division within the health sciences programme.

“Manawa brings together health professionals working at the coal face of health delivery, health researchers trying to identify new cures and new ways to improve health outcomes for families and individuals, and those involved in training the next generation of professionals who will be our future workforce,” Woodward says.

Since the move to Manawa, a collaborative research project between Ara and UC, An evaluation of perceptions of readiness for practice: Senior nursing students, was published in an international nursing journal.

Another collaborative study involving all three partners, which explores the experiences of the senior students throughout their first year of nursing practice, is also on the way.

The word Manawa is Te Reo Māori for heart, patience and breath and was bestowed on the facility, along with designs of cultural significance, by Te Pākura Ltd and local iwi. Manawa also refers to the proverb “Manawa Whenua, Manawa Tangata”, which makes the intimate connection between human health and the health of our environment.