Aged care experts share their vision

The De Hogeweyk founders’ visit to New Zealand

Aged care experts share their vision

The international experts who inspired Rotorua’s new state-of-the-art dementia facility, being built in Ngongotaha, are set to speak in Rotorua.

Whare Aroha CARE is hosting Janette Spiering and Yvonne van Amerongen-Heijer, who have been heralded worldwide for designing a facility that moves away from traditional resthomes.

Their village, De Hogeweyk, allows people to live within the secure perimeter of what looks like a normal Dutch village in a way that provides familiarity and reduces confusion.

It was the inspiration behind Whare Aroha CARE’s new facility which is under construction at Ngongotaha.

The pair will speak at the Dementia Care by Design Conference, which is being held in Rotorua on February 23.

Whare Aroha CARE’s Therese Jeffs and Deanna Smit have based the new Rotorua village on De Hogeweyk after hearing about the story at a dementia design school in Sydney.

Ms Jeffs said they went to the conference because they knew there had to be a better way but had no real idea of where to start.

We came away totally captivated by what Ms. Spiering and Ms. van Amerongen-Heijer had created at De Hogeweyk, and have never looked back.

The two have worked closely with Whare Aroha CARE on the New Zealand interpretation of the Dutch village that the community trust will open in December when its current lease expires.

The De Hogeweyk founders’ visit to New Zealand will allow people working in the aged-care industry, or those with an interest in the future of aged-care, a chance to hear the De Hogeweyk story from the founders themselves and also to hear their ideas on how the model can be interpreted in New Zealand.

Ms Jeffs and Ms Smit will share their own journey of creating this village in New Zealand, and architects Grant Barrowman and Matt Gilliland from Ignite Architects will provide their design insights.

The Dementia Care by Design Conference is being held on February 23 at the Novotel in Rotorua. Registrations are limited and bookings are essential. For more information see or email