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painting of rabbit and cat showing way to vera haywood

Ōtepoti Ratoka Whakawhanake Tamaiti

Dunedin Child Development Service
Vera Hayward Centre


Mā te whiritahi ka tutuki ai ngā pumanawa o te tamaiti

Together weaving the realisation of the child's potential

What is the Vera Hayward Centre?

The Vera Hayward Centre is a Ratoka Whakawanake Tamaiti (Child Development Service). We are a whānau centred early intervention service for tamariki aged 0-5 years. We also provide some services to tamariki aged 5-16 years of age.

We provide assessments and intervention for tamariki with developmental delay or disabilities and developmental follow-up surveillance for some of the babies from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Our team consists of Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists, Speech-language Therapists and Social Workers.

We work closely with Paediatricians, Dietitians, Clinical Psychologists and the Autism Co-ordinator.

Where is the Vera Hayward Centre?

We are located in the Fraser Building on Hanover Street. The entrance to the Centre is off Castle Street via the entrance to the Physio pool. We have some car parks available, otherwise public parking is available around the Centre. You can also use the Outpatients car park under the Hospital with an appointment card displayed in your windscreen. 

Contact details
Phone: 03 470 9377
Fax: 03 470 9905


Centre hours: The Centre is open from 8.00 to 4.30/5.00 Monday to Friday. Your individual therapist may have variable working hours. If you need to contact someone and the main phone is unattended, we have an answerphone for messages.

Our Philosophy
  • You are respected as a person who knows your tamaiti best
  • You are valued as the most important person on the team around your tamaiti
  • You are involved in all the decisions about your tamaiti’s programme and intervention
  • You have access to the information and resources you need to help your tamaiti learn and develop
  • You have clear lines of communication with all members of the team, who work together for your tamaiti’s benefit
  • Your privacy, and that of your tamaiti and whānau, is respected at all times.

Working with whānau and valuing their role as experts and agents of change.

How do we access the Vera Hayward Centre?

For tamariki under 5 years of age we accept referrals from whānau - parents and any service provider when there are concerns about a tamaiti’s development. For example:

  • General Practitioners (GP)
  • Paediatricians and other specialist physicians 
  • Early Childhood Centres (e.g. kindergartens, preschools, daycares, playcentres, home-based care)
  • Health Professionals (e.g. Plunket, Public Health Nurses)
  • Educational Professionals (e.g. Te Mahau - Learning Support, CCS Disability Action, Family Start).

It is useful for us to have accompanying information from your tamaiti’s Early Childhood Centre (kindergarten, daycare, preschool, home-based care, play centre) if they attend one.

Please go to our Referral Information page for more information and to access a copy of our referral form.

I am only concerned about my child's speech-language development. Can my child have a Speech-language Therapy assessment at the Vera Hayward Centre?

  • We only provide speech-language therapy assessments as part of developmental (general) assessments. Unfortunately our service does no offer individual speech-language therapy assessments for tamariki.
    • Te Mahau (Learning Support, Ministry of Education) offer individual assessments for tamariki who fit their criteria.
    • Speech-language Therapists working in private practice provide also offer individual assessments.
  • We do accept referrals for tamariki with feeding issues and will see these tamariki for individual assessments. 

For our referral form go to our Referral Information page.

What services do we provide for tamariki aged 5 - 16 years?

We provide some services to tamariki aged 5-16 years old who meet our criteria. Referrals are accepted from Paediatricians, and are usually for something specific. Some of the services we provide include:

  • housing modifications
  • equipment
  • dysphagia/feeding assessments
  • post botox/orthopaedic surgery follow-up
  • general orthopaedic follow-up

The 5-16 year old service is accessible to school-age tamariki who do not have specific Te Mahau (Learning Support, Ministry of Education) therapy-service funding. Referrals will be considered for MoE-funded tamariki who need assistive equipment at home, or who require rehabilitation post-operatively or as a result of decreased function. A tamiati will be considered for Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy services IF:

  • The referral is received from a Consultant, e.g. Paediatrician, Orthopaedic surgeon
  • The tamaiti meets disability criteria, i.e they have been identified as having a physical, sensory, intellectual disability, (or a combination of these) which is likely to continue for a minimum of six months.

The referral must highlight a specific Occupational Therapy or Physiotherapy need that affects their ability to carry out everyday activities.

If you have any concerns, please see your GP and ask for a referral to the Paediatric Department.


See below for all our latest news and information covering a range of topics including vacancies and careers. Check the Related Content section below for additional resources and links.

National Child Development Service Project

In the 2019 budget Child Development Services nationally were given an increase in funding for the following four years.  Some of this funding was used to increase the number of staff working in CDS – in Dunedin we got more funding for physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech language therapy, adminisistration, and clinical psychology.  The aim of this increase was to reduce waitlists and to provide additional services that other CDS’s around the country were already providing but we were not.  In Dunedin this included more work with over 5 year olds and housing modifications.  The rest of the funding is being used for quality projects and service improvement, so that Child Development Services around New Zealand offer consistent, high quality services to children with disabilities and their whānau.   In Dunedin we have already been funded for specialist staff training and equipment, and have been part of projects investigating the use of Telehealth and developing a specialist education package for new graduates working in CDS.  Even this website has benefited from some of the funding to have the video clips professionally filmed!  We are sure there will be more exciting developments to come and you might notice some changes in the service or be asked to provide feedback about your experience during your time at Vera Hayward.




















Interested in working in the Child Development Service? Follow the link below to check for vacancies.

Allied Health, Scientific &Technical (

Careers in Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech-Language Therapy

Thinking about Occupational Therapy as a career?

To find out more about the different degree programmes in New Zealand, click on the links below:

Thinking about Physiotherapy as a career?

To find out more about the different degree programmes in New Zealand, click on the links below:

Thinking about Speech-language Therapy as a career?

To find out more about the different degree programmes in New Zealand, click on the links below:

Accredited New Zealand Universities:



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