Otaki Health Camp Is Closing

Otaki children’s health camp showing one of the unique rotundas

The ‘Stand’ organisation says its closing the famous children’s health camp at Otaki.

It says its unique trauma-focused programme at its Children’s Villages at Otaki and Roxburgh.will stop at the end of June. The Kidzacool service for grandparents raising grandchildren will also stop.

380 children a year will miss out 

The closures mean 63 jobs will be lost across both regions and 380 children a year will miss out on the Children’s Village  trauma-focussed treatment programme.

The health camp was set up in Otaki in 1932 and has provided healthy breaks for thousands of children from needy families or institutions. Highly-trained nurses and teachers were always on hand to help children reach their potential.

Children feeding chickens at the Otaki camp

But the organisation will continue to operate its intensive family wraparound services in the central and southern regions

Stand Chief Executive Dr Fiona Inkpen says all children and families currently working with Stand will continue to receive the Intensive Family Wraparound Service.

“I want to reassure our children and families that Stand is not going anywhere. The villages are one aspect of the services we provide, and while it is immensely sad to close these two facilities, our priority remains supporting children and families to be safe, healthy and functioning well.”

Stand is the only residential treatment service of its kind for children aged 5 to 12 who need support to recover from trauma. The Children’s Villages  have combined care with residential and educational services in a safe and protective environment where children can heal and recover.

No funding rise since 2009

Entrance to the Otaki health camp

Dr Inkpen says Stand hasn’t had a funding increase since 2009 and has been meeting operating shortfalls from its own reserves. Financial pressures increased last year following salary increases for the organisation’s staff.

Stand has been topping-up the shortfall in Government funding from its own funds for many years, using prudent financial management and the sale of unused land.

“Unfortunately our reserves are now used up and we have made the difficult decision after consulting with staff and the PSA to close two of our villages. Our hope is this will be a temporary measure and we will be working with Oranga Tamariki and the Ministry of Education to rebuild services in both regions,” says Dr Inkpen.

For the 2017/18 financial year, Stand and Oranga Tamariki split the operating costs caused by the increase 50/50, however Stand will need $3 million extra, an increase of 18 per cent, to cover the pay rises, compensate for 9 years of inflation, and added costs such as Kiwisaver, to keep the villages open.

Minister for Children Tracey Martin told Stand the Government recognised the value of the organisation and its work, but the funding required could not be secured at this time because of restrictions on the Government budget.



I went to Health Camp once in 2011 and twice in 2013. This was honestly so amazing, and I have some great memories from the camp. It is so sad it’s closing down.

Are you looking for onsite security?

My partner and myself live in a bus and would love to live onsite as security to look after the place.

There are plenty of places to park up and we would regularly patrol the property.

If your interested please contact me on contact details below…

I was sent to this camp when i was 6 yrs old, 1964 i have very fond memories of this camp during my stay. Lining up outside for milk, going to school with the classrooms next to each other, making stuff at woodwork, playing games in the rotunda, food issued out in the canteen, beds were very comfortable in the dorms. I remember going for a walk on Sundays with everybody else and lining up outside dairy for an icecream on the way to otaki beach. There was so much to do its very sad this government has the audacity to close it down, ? Shame on you.

what a shame that the Government gives so much funding to other less worthy causes. I was a patient during the 1940s when i had had a bought of child sicknesses. i have very fond memory’s of the camp and the lines of us children trying to dodge the spoon-full of cod liver oil. chasing rabbits in the sand-hills, making kites from newspaper, building booby-traps in the sand. enjoying the classroom activities and even after a prolonged period of not eating tripe and onions, i eventually ate the stuff and asked for more, have loved it ever since. some of the things i recall from this magnificent child oriented health camp, im now just beginning my 80 decade and reckon the camp gave me a fresh start to life. Thank you.


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