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  • Writer's pictureThe Hearing House

Changing lives and communities

Young Henry Optican stole the show when he spoke at the official opening of the Joyce Fisher Preschool last month.

The four-year-old confidently told a crowd of around 50 people about his favourite things at preschool.

“Mat time. [I like] sitting down quietly.”

He also likes reading stories at mat time.

And like most kids, he enjoys lunch time. “We get to sit around and eat,” he told the audience.

“I like playing with my friends.”

Henry was diagnosed with hearing loss in both ears after new born hearing screens prompted further investigation. He has cochlear implants in both ears and has been attending our preschool for just over one year.

Henry was speaking at our event which marked the preschool’s official opening and doubled as a celebration that construction of The Hearing House Centre has begun.

We were delighted to have a number of special guests join us, including our local MP for Maungakiekie and Associate Minister for Health Hon Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga and Maungakiekie-Tamaki ward councillor Denise Lee from Auckland Council.

We were also thrilled to welcome donors, families, friends and staff to the event.

Robert Lerner from the Joyce Fisher Charitable Trust was among the speakers. The preschool is named after his late aunty, Lady Joyce Fisher, who was an extremely generous supporter of The Hearing House. Today, the members of the trust do a fantastic job of continuing to support us.

“She had a very long relationship with The Hearing House and a special relationship with it,” Mr Lerner said. “So for us, this was a no brainer to be involved with it.

“We are absolutely delighted with how the project has turned out.”

Mr Lerner said the trust members hope they “can continue to be involved with it for many years”.

“What a wonderful result these implants have. It changes lives. It changes communities. It makes a real difference.”

Tom Marshall, chairman of the Cochlear Implant Foundation of New Zealand, also spoke at the event and said the celebration was “a momentous day” for the foundation and The Hearing House.

“Lady Fisher was a very special woman and we know that she had a warm regard for The Hearing House and was a great supporter of us during her life. So we are very pleased to have the opportunity to perpetuate her name.”

Mr Marshall also recognised those that have helped make it possible for us to start the construction of our new centre.

“The generosity and vision of the organisations and people in our community is just extraordinary and we are grateful to you all.”

Mr Lotu-Iiga took the opportunity to say that the Government is “fully supportive” of what we, at The Hearing House, do.

“It’s because what you do works. What you do here has an impact on children, but also their families and communities.”

The hearing centre we were celebrating will be an $8 million, 1000sqm specialised facility for deaf children and their families, and adults who have suffered sudden or gradual hearing loss.

We are retaining our existing iconic building, a former vicarage on Campbell Rd, Greenlane, and the purpose-built specialised facility will adjoin it. The new premises will feature therapy rooms, audiology booths, a home suite, a community meeting room and a sensory integration room.

The Hearing House expansion will enable us to take on 450 adult clients in late 2017. This is part of a partnership with the University of Auckland.

The Hearing House chief executive Scott Johnston says the celebration event was a great chance to say thank you to everyone who has supported us so far.

“It was a pleasure to meet with the people who have helped make this happen, to show them around the preschool and discuss with them our plans for the future.”

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