Search Browse On This Day Map Quotations Timeline Research Free Datasets Remembered About Contact

Debate over Burnett Centre

Mon 16 Jul 2007 In: New Zealand Daily News readers in Auckland have voiced concern over the possible relocation of the NZ AIDS Foundation's HIV-testing and counselling Burnett Centre away from it's current site close to K' Road. The NZAF's Executive Director Rachael Le Mesurier says she can reassure the community that at no stage have there been any plans to close the Burnett Centre – existing services in its Poynton Terrace location may be moved the their main office in College Hill. “But that decision has not been made yet,” she makes clear. HIV positive Aucklander Damian Moore says the idea of moving the Burnett Centre is “totally stupid – and I know a lot of people that feel the same way. "Everyone wants the Burnett Centre to move up onto K' Road somewhere," Moore believes. “Nobody wants to go to the [Main Office] AIDS Foundation. They'll feel labelled, whether they're gay, or straight, or bi, or unidentified or whatever. The Burnett Centre's been removed from them for years, and it's got its good name like that. Moore says the latest proposal by the Foundation could lead to another ‘Herne Bay House' episode, where a centre was closed down and key services were lost. “They say they'll put it to the community and see what they think, but I'm sure they're actually going to do just what they want.” Other feedback on the idea received by agreed that the Burnett Centre's current off K' Road location is far closer to the gay community ‘coalface' than the proposed down from Ponsonby's ‘Three Lamps' location. “Having to negotiate entering NZAF HQ, rather than rolling up to the friendly folk at the Burnett Centre, will put quite a few clients off altogether,” said one email. “The relative autonomy of the Burnett Centre, and the accessible nature of its location and staff, are a major strength for the NZAF… So, why is it so necessary to move this fine service now?” Former NZAF chairperson and Auckland Uni PhD researcher Michael Stevens says the Burnett Centre's services have moved at least twice before, and that he's fine with the possible relocation. “College Hill or K' Rd - I don't see much difference,” he says. “A lot of the men I have interviewed for my PhD work are not into the K' Road scene at all, and don't have any reason to go there except for accessing the Centre, so I don't see how the move would really affect them. “People who are immersed in the gay scene tend to forget that there are many more men out there who have nothing to do with it and don't like it. I think that's why some people think that location is so vital - it works well for them, but they are forgetting all those men who just don't see K' Road as the centre of their gay world,” Stevens continues. “For me, I think the key thing is that the services are still provided.” The NZAF's Executive Director Rachael Le Mesurier says that due to the increased number of people living with HIV in the Auckland region and the huge response to the introduction of rapid HIV testing, the demand on Burnett Centre services is greater than ever before – “making it necessary for us to seriously look at expanding staff numbers and opening hours. “Alongside the challenges about meeting the growing need in Auckland, is the possibility of NZAF purchasing the current National Office building in College Hill, which carries with it the potential for relocating the Burnett Centre facilities.” The NZAF board meeting is on the 21st of July. “We will make sure the community are kept up to date with any changes that may – or may not – flow from this decision,” promises Le Mesurier.     Ref:, NZAF (m)

Credit: News Staff

First published: Monday, 16th July 2007 - 1:22pm

Rights Information

This page displays a version of a article that was automatically harvested before the website closed. All of the formatting and images have been removed and some text content may not have been fully captured correctly. The article is provided here for personal research and review and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of If you have queries or concerns about this article please email us