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Comfort, Support, Wellbeing - the Matatiki Journey

It was the view from the hospital window that inspired Publica’s Mark Spurgeon, his creative brain heading into overdrive.

“I started thinking of the world around us – the Southern Alps, Hagley Park, the Avon River – and thought, what if we bring that world inside?” says Mark.

Mark Spurgeon and the Studio Publica team were on a mission to develop a theme or creative concept that could support children and their families on their journey through Christchurch Hospital and the Canterbury District Health Board’s Child Health Services. 

“Part of our challenge was to create something for children that could have a timeless appeal for children and adults, as well as being a concept we could adapt and grow into the future,” says Mark.

With inspiration drawn from looking out the window, the concept of Matatiki was born.  Matatiki means ‘spring of water’.

“We had an idea to have a riverline, treeline and skyline.  We then had to visualise how to stylise that and bring in some native elements – we think of them as our special friends.”

More than 70 native critters - from bugs and birds to fish and butterflies – have been adopted as part of the Matatiki theme, which flows throughout the child health spaces from waiting rooms to treatment rooms and the play area. 

“We have been working on this Matatiki journey for a number of years, but it’s all been kept under wraps.  To have our vision come to life and be in the public eye is very exciting.

“Often being in hospital is not where you want to be and we know for children it can be really tough.  Creating this fun, engaging and welcoming theming is just a little way we can help soften the environment and support children and their whānau through their journey,” says Mark.

The Matatiki theming is being funded by the Māia Health Foundation, as part of the Foundation’s $3.2 million worth of enhancements to the child health spaces at the new Christchurch Hospital Hagley.

Matatiki is the new name of the collective Child and Youth Health services in Canterbury.  As well as reflecting the abundance of water and springs around the main hospital campus which feed into Ōtakaro (the Avon River), Matatiki also incorporates regeneration, rejuvenation and a return to wellness.

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