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From King Edward VII Memorial Hospital for Children to Te Wao Nui

Construction Update

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 across two levels in medical and surgical wards
  • Outpatient and clinical consultation rooms
  • Social and family/whānau spaces including two family kitchens, breastfeeding rooms and laundry facilities
  • Teen Lounge
  • Outdoor Playscape
  • Two therapeutic gyms
  • Specialty services including Ophthalmology, Ear, Nose and Throat, Craniofacial and Orthopaedics, Allied Health and Child Development Service operating clinics
  • Staff and administration areas
  • Iconic Tree of Life
  • Café
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.

A striking feature of the new hospital are the asymmetrical fins that run the vertical length of the glazing. Made of more than 1.4 kms of aluminium, these fins provide a unique and soft feathered effect to the exterior of the new children’s hospital.

The fins also help regulate the building’s temperature thereby reducing heat and cooling costs. The playful coloured fins on the lower level cast beautiful colours across the interior of the building and also connect with the colours of the main hospital campus.

The building’s design allows for a vast amount of natural light, which is beneficial for patients, families, staff and visitors. More than 2.5 million iconic Kiwi elements have been printed in a ‘frit’ design on the wrap-around glazing, and these decorative fantails, koru, ferns, penguins, footballs and other iconic images will surprise and captivate young patients and their families.

The new hospital is rated to withstand a once in a 2,500 year seismic event, which will provide essential protection to patients and staff, and ensure that the hospital is up and running quickly following a large earthquake. The building rests on 45 vast Triple Pendulum Base Isolators, which have been specifically designed and manufactured in San Francisco and allow the new building to sway as much as 1.5 metres in two directions.

Foundations were laid on top of 900 piles by 280 cement trucks snaking to the site in two continuous raft pours with over 2,100 cubic metres of cement.

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 rooms is largely complete in some areas, with carpeting, vinyl and wall finishes beginning to go in. Some rooms have also been painted, with ceilings and lights installed.

Seismic bracing of services is being done in the plant room and retaining works for landscaping and car parking around the site is also underway.   Work on the internal medical gas systems is underway and service connections into the regional hospital have been completed, with IT fibre connections, pneumatic tube system to the labs, and fire connection cabling installed. This hi-tech and fit for purpose new hospital includes more than 22,000km of electrical wiring – which is the equivalent of flying from NZ to South Africa and back again.

Fixed joinery such as cupboards and reception desks are largely in place across two levels, and lift installation is also nearly complete.  Work continues by the project team to select much needed new medical and therapeutic equipment, and requests for quotes have also been issued to suppliers for general furnishings.  Family friendly wayfinding signage with kaitiaki character theming, has also been created and tested with key groups. Work is also underway to create a donor wall that acknowledges Mark Dunajtschick and Dorothy Spotswood along with the thousands of community donors from across our region.

The next major milestone will be breakthrough of the Link Bridge that connects the new building to the main hospital campus.  This is a complex piece of engineering that will connect two buildings with different seismic sways. The prefabricated glass panels used in the Link Bridge were recycled from the BNZ building by Wellington Port, which was deconstructed following the Kaikoura earthquake. The reuse of existing and suitable building material on the Link Bridge in this way aligns with McKee Fehl’s sustainability goals and objectives for waste minimisation.

Installation of the Tree of Life and spiral staircase, connecting levels 2 and 3, which will be an iconic structure and a central part of the interior theming of the new hospital, is also well underway.  The Tree of Life connects to the playful and fun murals created by Weta Workshop that reflect the different layers of the forest ecosystem – forest floor, tree line and canopy. It is creative elements like these that will bring Te Wao Nui to life.

Covered carparking for the ambulance bay is in place. Rework of the hospital’s memorial garden is also underway to help connect the outdoor space between Te Wao Nui and the main hospital building.

Work continues on the north facing Playscape. This outdoor play and rehabilitative area will be used by children waiting to be seen in outpatient clinics and by siblings visiting the hospital. Importantly, it will also serve as a rehabilitation area for children with mobility issues. There will also be quiet spaces for people to enjoy an outdoor retreat.

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

Building work resumed quickly at Level Three following each of the COVID national lockdowns in March 2020 and late August 2021.  It is a credit to Mark Dunajtschik and the McKee Fehl team that despite national lockdowns and delays with the national and international supply chains, there have been only relatively minor delays.  All works are now scheduled to be completed by the end of the year, with rigorous commission testing of all services running into the new year.  The building will be open to patients and families in Autumn 2022.

In August, we were pleased to host the Governor General Dame Patsy through the new hospital. As the hospital’s immediate neighbour, Her Excellency has taken a keen interest in the construction and it was a lovely opportunity to show her around the build as she comes to the end of her term as Governor General.

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

Join us and help outfit and equip the interior of Te Wao Nui. Your kind gift will be put towards all the furniture and fittings, as well as state of the art medical and therapeutic equipment, along with all the creative and technical elements of the new hospital.