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Three years ago, following an initial approach by the Wellington Hospitals Foundation, Wellingtonian Mark Dunajtschik announced an extraordinary gift of $50 million to build a new world-class children’s hospital for our region.  This unprecedented generosity is deeply appreciated and will ensure a brighter and healthier future for thousands of kiwi kids.

We are delighted to share CCDHB’s name for the new Child Health Service and Hospital, which honours and cements Mark and his partner Dorothy Spotswood’s place as major guardians of our region’s young people.       

The new Child Health Service and Hospital will be known as Te Wao Nui – ‘The Great Forest of Tāne’, and the new hospital building will be known as the Mark Dunajtschik and Dorothy Spotswood Building in honour of their tremendous gift.

Without Mark and Dorothy’s support a new children’s hospital would have been many decades away, and sick children, their families and the hospital’s incredible medical teams would have continued to struggle in a building that was unfit for purpose. 

This project is also unique in that Mark and the CCDHB have engaged clinical teams to work with the architects from day one, which has allowed them to design medical, clinical, administrative, monitoring and whānau spaces in the new hospital that will explicitly meet their needs, as well as those of children and their families.

Te Wao Nui

Mark and Dorothy’s gift also means that for the very first time a range of paediatric services will now be brought together under one roof.  This will make it quicker and easier for our hospital’s clinicians to collaborate across a range of specialities, as well as being much easier for families to access multiple child health services.   This opportunity has allowed the CCDHB to revamp and launch a new integrated child health service and hospital for the central region which will be known as Te Wao Nui – The Great Forest of Tāne. 

This name was chosen after careful consultation with key stakeholders and acknowledges the cultural significance and life-giving properties that Māori associate with the forest.  Māori revere the forest for its beauty, spiritual presence, and bounty of food, medicines and building materials; and it is fitting that the protective spirit/mauri of the forest is reflected in the name and theming of our new hospital service.   The new name will take effect when the service transitions into the new children’s hospital building from late 2021.

Kaitiaki – Guardians of the new hospital

We are also thrilled to share a glimpse into the gorgeous work by Weta Workshop.  Their magical ‘Tree of Life’ designs, murals, concepts and large scale sculptural elements will bring Te Wao Nui to life and help promote a sense of health and well-being.  Drawing on features of New Zealand’s flora and fauna, a whānau of nine kaitiaki characters have also been developed to help children and young people feel supported and cared for during their hospital journey.   

Wellington Hospitals Foundation

Since Mark announced his legacy gift, Wellington Hospitals Foundation has been engaged with our community to outfit and equip the interior of the hospital.  All these incredible creative design features, along with the specialised paediatric equipment, the digital and other essential services, as well all the furniture and fittings in the new children’s hospital, are only possible because of you and other generous donors in our community.  Your partnership with us, your hard mahi and your contribution towards the $10 million internal outfit has, and continues to be, essential to the success of our new children’s hospital. 

We are pleased to share a video about the Te Wao Nui Child Health Service’s name, its story and some of Weta’s magical interior concepts for the new hospital – VIEW HERE.

For a video introduction to the new whānau of kaitiaki – VIEW HERE.