Latest News for Wanaka Lakes Health Centre


Wanaka Medical Centre has grown with the town for 31 years

The Wanaka Medical Centre was established by Drs Dennis Pezaro and David Allen in 1980. Wanaka was originally designated a “special health area”, a title given to a remote rural area which needed a doctor but did not have the population to financially support one. The doctors were paid a salary by the health department.

Dr Pezaro was the last of these salaried doctors before he was joined by Dr Allen and established the Wanaka Medical Centre. In the mid- 1980s they were joined by a third partner, Dr Andrew Mcleod.

The practise continued to expand, with services and staff numbers increasing. Wanaka’s population was growing rapidly at this time and visitor numbers expanded seasonally, especially with the establishment of the four ski areas.

In the early 2000′s Dr Linda Garrett and Dr Jo Millis joined the practise and two adjoining townhouses were purchased, which allowed space for visiting specialists and other new services as well as a general expansion of the practise.

On Dr Pezaro’s retirement in 2006 Dr Julian Pettit joined the centre as a partner.

“We’re all very excited about the move to the new centre,” said practise manager Jan Gillespie who added that all the doctors, including Drs Mark Feeney and Jenny Paton who joined the centre this year, will be moving to the new centre. The nursing team led by Maureen and the reception team led by Paula, are all looking forward to working in one building with more space so we will have the same great staff, the same phone number and same great friendly service”  “As a team,” Jan went on, “we’re appreciative of staff and patients’ tolerance and understanding as we have outgrown the rooms in Russel St and look forward to welcoming them and and visitors to the new rooms in Cardrona Valley Rd.”

“We also wish to acknowledge the enormous amount of time and energy Dr Mcleod has put in to the new Wanaka Lakes Health Centre on our behalf. It has been a huge undertaking, demanding both time and commitment.”

(from the ODT)

Multidisciplinary approach

The team at Wanaka Physiotherapy is looking forward to the multidisciplinary approach it will now be able to offer the community.

“Having supported our community for nearly 18 years, we have a good understanding of the requirements,” said owner Gin Rutledge.

“For example, on the one hand physiotherapy specialises in services to the elderly and respiratory and cardiac problems with our new Huff and Puff and Cardiac classes.  At the other end of the spectrum is sports medicine and supporting our local and international athletes to complete injury-free in their various sporting careers.

“We have planned our new clinic with these concepts in mind with private treatment rooms and a rehab gym.”

(from the ODT)

Along came Wanaka’s first lady doctor

Aspiring Medical Centre was established by Dr Susie Meyer in 1995, initially as a sole practice, operating out of a small room behind the dentist.

On the first day eight patients attended the clinic and for the first year Susie was on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week for her patients.

In 1996 she was joined by Dr Lucy O’Hagan.  Female doctors were a new thing in Wanaka at that time and people asked questions like “does your doctor write prescriptions?” or “does your doctor stitch people up?”

In 1998 the practice moved to the premises in Dungarvon St and added an X-ray service and a male doctor, Dr Simon Brebner.  He was also very good at writing prescriptions and stitching people up!  In 2005 the practise was fortunate to recruit Dr Jayne Davies from the UK, who joined as a partner.

“Our caring and committed team now numbers 17 staff and doctors who look after a population of thousands,” says practice manager Sally Battson.  “We all feel it is a great
privilege to live and work in the Wanaka community and be part of people’s lives in both sickness and in health.”

She pointed out that the move to the new premises will see the end of the in-house X-ray service, with the radiographers joining the Otago Radiology team in the new health centre.  Chiropractor Dave Jongsma, who has been working from the Dungarvon St
premises, will be setting up his own room in the new building.

“Since 2002 we have been dealing with constant growth,” Sally remarked.  “The last few years in our present building have been very cramped and we’ve been challenged to find
creative ways of getting the most from the space available.  Consequently we are all very excited by the prospect of working in a new purpose-built clinic where we will have plenty of space and up-to-date facilities to enhance the care that we offer.”

(from the ODT)

Multimillion Dollar Health Centre Opens its Doors

The new Wanaka Lakes Health Centre has officially opened its doors to patients on the 20th June 2011.
It has taken five years in the planning and over twelve months to construct the 2,000m2 facility. Which includes general practice,physiotherapy,pharmacy and radiology services. This has been the largest private investment in the Wanaka area for sometime. This shows the committiment to integrated health care delivered at a local level in Wanaka.

“This building is the result of a strong and continued support by the local doctors and health practitioners in the area and also shows the vision they shared in getting this project to fruition”. Furthermore they share an excellent understanding of the needs of the community and this is shown from the outset with patient flow being paramount in the planning of the new centre.

The new centre at 23 Cardrona Valley Road, will cater for a wide range of health services, including general practice,physiotherapy,optometry,pharmacy,radiology, as well as community services such as mental health and specialist care.

While the partners are immensely proud of their acheivement, the real heart and soul of the centre are the people who deliver high quality care and professional services to the people of Wanaka.

Opening Date

Wanaka Lakes Health Centre will be open to the public from Monday 20 June. The Centre will host a range of services including the Aspiring Medical Centre, Wanaka Medical Centre, Central Otago Optical, Lakes Podiatry, Otago Radiology, Pembroke Massage, Wanaka Pharmacy and Wanaka Physiotherapy. Our rooms and services will also be used by visiting specialists.

Sneak Preview

The Wanaka Lakes Health Centre will have a sneak preview on Sunday 12 June, 10am – 1pm. Come and check out your new community health services located at Wanaka Lakes Health Centre. Have a sneak preview around the building before the furniture arrives and we move in. Our friendly staff will be on hand to answer any questions.