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An Update on your New Regional Children’s Hospital

Three years ago, following an initial approach by the Foundation, 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 given them carte blamche 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 – a new integrated Child Health Service

For the very first time a range of paediatric services will now be brought together under one roof, which has allowed the CCDHB to revamp and launch a new integrated Child Health Service and Hospital for the central region. 

The name Te Wao Nui 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.

View a short introduction to Te Wao Nui’s name, its story, and some of Weta’s magical interior concepts for the new hospital.

Kaitiaki – Gaurdians of the new hospital

We are also thrilled to share a glimpse into the gorgeous work by Weta Workshop which will bring Te Wao Nui to life. 

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.   

You can also be introduced to the new whānau of kaitiaki HERE

Who does CCDHB’s Child Health Service cater for?

CCDHB’s Child Health Service is an important part of New Zealand’s specialist children’s hospital network. They support babies to adolescents (16 years and under) with medical conditions and requiring paediatric surgery.

Specialist paediatric surgery is only performed at five hospitals in the country – one of which is Wellington. The Hospital provides paediatric surgical services for children from the Capital and Coast region, as well as children from Hutt Valley, Wairarapa, Manawatu, Whanganui, Hawkes Bay, Nelson and Marlborough.

Around 7,500 children per year are admitted to the hospital wards at Wellington Regional Children’s Hospital. Around 80 percent of the children live in the Capital & Coast DHB area; the other 20 percent are children from the lower North Island and upper South Island.

There are more than 87,000 young patient visits to Wellington Regional Children’s Hospital each year – most of which are outpatient visits.

Construction of our new fit-for-purpose children’s hospital

Wellington’s King Edward VII Memorial Children’s Hospital was New Zealand’s first hospital to be devoted exclusively to the treatment and care of children.
Fortunately, modern paediatric healthcare is a world away from early Victorian practices when children were shut away in dormitory style wards.

Te Wao Nui will be around 7,200m² and spread over three floors. It will include:

  • 151 beds – in bedrooms, consult rooms and clinical rooms
  • 50 inpatient hospital beds, as well as social and family/whānau areas
  • Outpatient and clinical consultation rooms
  • Staff and administration areas.
Young people and their families admitted to Te Wao Nui will experience much more comfort and privacy with single bedrooms, ensuite bathrooms, fold away adult beds and a personal Smart TV. Importantly, the change to individual patient rooms will also ensure greater infection control at a time when this has never been more important.
Two sample rooms have been created offering an exciting sneak peek into the final space!

Work on the interior of the new Children’s Hospital is progressing well and it’s exciting to see the final spaces taking shape.  Internal lining of the two whānau rooms is complete, work on the PlayScape continues, carpet is being laid in some areas, seismic bracing of services is being done in the plant room and retaining works for car parking around the site is underway.   

The next major milestone will be breakthrough of the Link Bridge that connects the new building to the main hospital campus.  We also look forward to installation of framing for the Tree of Life and spiral staircase which will be an iconic structure and a central part of the interior theming. 

This high-tech and fit for purpose new hospital will include more than 22,000km of electrical wiring – that’s the equivalent of flying from NZ to South Africa and back again.

The isolation facilities with the dedicated negative and positive air pressure spaces in this new building will also be second to none.

How much will it cost?

The cost of the building works, including furniture, equipment and fittings, will be approximately $105 million. Financial contributions to the hospital include:

– Mark Dunajtschik’s $50 million donation

– The Government’s contribution of $45.6 million

– The Wellington Hospital Foundation’s fundraising and community commitment of $10 million

A huge thanks to every one of you as we work towards raising the $10 million needed to outfit and equip the interior of Te Wao Nui. This includes the super-cool kids gifting their pocket money as well as the many families, small kiwi businesses, community organisations and caring corporate donors.

Your partnership with Wellington Hospitals Foundation, 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. Please join us and DONATE HERE.

It is a privilege to represent our donors in this journey towards a stunning new children’s hospital, and we look forward to opening Te Wao Nui’s doors next year.