Taranaki's multi-million dollar investment in health has been officially opened.
On Friday, health minister Jonathan Coleman unveiled a plaque to mark the opening of the $3.6 million angiography suite at Taranaki Base Hospital.
He said the community effort to raise the money for it was "fantastic" and was a unique initiative.
"I haven't seen an effort like this for a special facility within a hospital," he said.
"You do have these hospital foundations that work to raise money for specific bits of equipment but I've never seen anything like this before so it is very very special."
He also praised the work of the organisations and volunteers who had organised the funds.
"You've obviously got a really motivated group of people here who are really just made stuff happen so I am impressed," he said.
Ray Fordyce was the first patient to go through the old angiography machine when it was first installed in 1987, after he suffered a heart attack on easter weekend.
"They said they'd send me to Waikato in the spring time and I never got there.
"I'm just wondering which spring time they're going to get me to the Waikato," he joked.
The 87-year-old said his procedure took "a bit longer than usual because they stopped every so often to check on me and to train the nurses", he said.
Taranaki District Health Board (TDHB) chief executive Rosemary Clements said Taranaki had done well.
"The province as a whole is energetic and understands about punching above our weight and having the best health care for the region," she said.
She also acknowledged the Taranaki Health Foundation, who ran the "We heart Taranaki" campaign to raise money for the new suite.
Angiography is a technique that maps the vessels in a person's heart and the new suite will make it easier for patients to receive diagnostic services in New Plymouth rather than travelling to Waikato Hospital.
It began taking patients in July, more than a month before the official opening.
Staff say comparing the new technology to what was there before was like "comparing a flame to a flashlight"