Wellington Regional Children’s Hospital has a unique and remarkable place in New Zealand’s history as the country’s first ever children’s hospital. Today we celebrate its 107th birthday!
As we reflect on our past, we also look towards a stunning “All Brand New” children’s hospital, that will provide world-class care and treatment to future generations of sick children across our region.
New Zealand’s first ever purpose built children’s hospital, ‘The Edward VII Memorial Children’s Hospital’ opens in Wellington on 13 March 1912. After the tremendously successful public fundraising campaign, left over money is used to buy 18 storybook and nursey rhyme themed Royal Doulton tiles, which were commonly used to decorate and brighten children’s hospitals throughout the Commonwealth in that period.
After serving Wellington’s youngest patients for 76 years, the original hospital is in desperate need of repair. A new children’s hospital is built and opened by the Governor General’s wife Sir Lady Reeves on 27 October 1988.
The Wellington Hospital Royal Doulton Preservation Trust is formed in 1989 to raise money for the conservation and restoration of the original Royal Doulton tiles. In 1991, eight of the one tonne panels are installed in the new children’s hospital, and in 2008 the remaining tiles are installed in the ‘Wellington Hospital Royal Doulton Tile Gallery’ which connects the new hospital to the old complex.
Hospi the courageous and plucky hospital lion is born. Later in 2010, Sir Richard Taylor and his Weta Workshop team would create the iconic Hospi brand that features in many thoughtful and surprising ways throughout the hospital.
The Wellington Children’s Hospital undergoes refurbishment and renovated wards are opened by Governor General Sir Jerry and Lady Mataparae on 13 March 2012.
The extraordinary news that local benefactor and philanthropist Mr Mark Dunajtschik will donate $50 million and build a new children’s hospital for the Wellington region, is announced.
The Wellington Hospitals Foundation launches their “All Brand New” campaign to raise $6 million to outfit the interior of the new children’s hospital with the most up to date medical equipment, and to create a well-appointed and family-friendly environment, gets underway.
Mauri stones from Rangiatea, Whakarongotai, Taranaki Maunga and Porirua are laid by iwi representatives to mark the beginning of the new build.
The Riddiford Building, one of three original onsite Nurses Homes on the hospital campus, is demolished to allow for construction the new children’s hospital.
2021 and beyond
The “All Brand New” Wellington Regional Children’s Hospital will be a state of the art, family-friendly hospital, providing world-class care and treatment to generations of children to come.
To donate to the New Wellington Regional Children’s Hospital Medical Equipment Fund please go to: whf.org.nz/donate/