• PROJECT Tiaho Mai Acute Mental Health Unit (Stage 2)
  • DATE 2020
  • LOCATION Lower North
  • SECTOR Health
  • Client Counties Manukau Health
  • Duration Mar 2019 - Aug 2020
  • Value $23 million
Tiaho Mai, the 76-bed acute mental health unit at Middlemore Hospital, is the first of its kind, marking a step-change in designing for mental health in New Zealand.

The new facility will provide acute adult inpatient treatment in a spacious and unique setting, with high hopes that it can create a positive impact for acute mental health patients. The client brief called for a salutogenic design approach, which emphasises the importance of a quality, socially inclusive environment in an individual’s health and wellbeing. As a result, the design response is big on integrating natural light, fresh air and community spaces – featuring a homelike quality to surroundings and features wherever possible.

Serving the communities of Counties Manukau Health (CM Health) in South Auckland, stage one of the new Tiaho Mai opened in 2018, with stage two officially opened in September 2020.

The project was initially awarded to another main contractor before Hawkins was engaged to deliver the second stage, following the collapse of the stage 1 builder. Hawkins was quickly integrated into the project team, working alongside the client CM Health, architects Klein, and established subcontractors to deliver the second wing.

The project really focused on a collaborative co-design effort. It was essential the building was built to ensure the best possible outcome for the service users, whanau / family and clinical staff.

About Tiaho Mai Stage 2

The second stage comprises a singlestorey clinical and residential unit, featuring 38 residential rooms and is essentially a duplicate of Stage 1.

The building itself is made up of high dependency and low dependency units, clinical areas, plantroom, five internal courtyards and external site works.

The project was undertaken adjacent to the live Stage 1 building, within an operating acute mental health campus in one of the largest hospitals in New Zealand.

“In particular, Hawkins were always responsive to the client’s needs that were made challenging by the site being closely sandwiched between the hospital’s emergency helipad and an operational acute mental health unit.”
– Chester Buller, former Manager – Capital Works, Counties Manukau District Health Board

The build also required an elevated level of attention to deliver to the specifications required for a building of this type and function.

Despite having the site closed for four weeks due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and having to work under Alert Level 3 and 2 site requirements, the Hawkins team managed to complete the job two weeks ahead of programme, all whilst achieving an exceptional level of quality.

“This has been the best defects process I have ever encountered, and hope that this becomes the ‘standard’ for construction in New Zealand.”
– Nicholas Wedde, Principal – Klein Architects

The new Tiaho Mai facility truly humanises the in-patient experience, bringing greater dignity to both service users and staff. Together, the wider project team has achieved something extraordinary, and hope this facility will lead the way in the future of mental health recovery in New Zeal