Govt funds new 80-bed mental health unit for Canterbury


The Government has granted final approval for a new 80-bed acute mental health facility at the Hillmorton Hospital campus, Health Minister Andrew Little says.

“This is the second stage of Hillmorton’s major infrastructure redevelopment programme and is one of the largest investments ever made in New Zealand’s mental health infrastructure in history.

“This new facility will support 80 adult in-patients to receive the best possible care and as part of the wider plan at Hillmorton will allow for improvements to other buildings on the site,” Andrew Little said.

“This is one of 16 mental health upgrade or rebuild projects this government has committed to following years of neglect of this essential part of our health system by the previous government.

“We’re investing $129 million for this project to modernise facilities and bring together services for adult acute mental health (Te Awakura unit), medical detox and psychiatric service for adults with an intellectual disability (PSAID) in an environment that will better support some of our most vulnerable on their road to recovery.

The new facility will mean staff can provide contemporary care in safe, therapeutic environments. The design of all the new mental health facilities will be informed by new models of care.

“The Hillmorton infrastructure programme also includes the relocation of specialist mental health services from the Princess Margaret Hospital into two new buildings at Hillmorton next year,” Andrew Little said.

“The Princess Margaret Hospital has not been up to scratch for a long time. Hospital infrastructure had been neglected for years and we’ve had to pick up the bill. We’ve made upgrading health facilities a priority with a $7 billion hospital re-build programme that includes these projects at Hillmorton.

“Budget 22 took the next step and invested $100-million in acute mental health services, including additional adult community places for former in-patients who are ready to transition back into the community because they no longer need to be in hospital for recovery.

“Building new and improved facilities that align with new models of care will make a huge difference to patients and staff. Putting people at the centre of healthcare with better services and supports is what our new mental health system is all about.” 

Te Aka Whai Ora will also work alongside Ngāi Tahu and Ngā Papatipu Rūnanga as part of the project. Design work will begin in early 2023, with the facility expected to open 2027.


Notes to Editor:

  • The Hillmorton project is one of 16 under The Government’s Mental Health Infrastructure Programme run by  Te Whatu Ora – collectively valued at $722.5 million – to improve the way mental health projects are planned and delivered.
  • The new Hillmorton 80-bed Acute Mental health Facility project costs $129.3-million
  • The relocation of Specialist mental health services to Hillmorton from The Princess Margaret Hospital is underway and cost nearly $81.8 million.
  • The wider Hillmorton masterplan is a multi-phased programme and proposals for further redevelopments are at various stages of the process