Photo Credit: Andy Spain
The original King Edward VII Memorial Hospital for Children opened in Wellington on 13 March 1912 following a hugely successful public fundraising campaign and has a proud history as New Zealand’s first ever purpose built children’s hospital.
In that same tradition of community support and fundraising, 110 years later the new Te Wao Nui Child Health Service opens its doors in the Mark Dunajtschik and Dorothy Spotswood Building to future generations of kiwi kids across the central region.
In 2017, following an initial approach by Bill Day Chair of Wellington Hospitals Foundation, Mark Dunajtschik and Dorothy Spotswood announced their extraordinary gift of $50 million to build and donate a new world-class children’s hospital to our region.
Any of us who have had the experience of a sick child who needs hospital level treatment, knows how traumatic and challenging that is, and Mark and Dorothy’s extraordinary gift to the people of this region is the greatest of legacies. Without them, a new hospital would have been many years away and sick children, their families and our hospital’s medical teams would have continued to struggle in a building that was broken and unfit for purpose.
As a tertiary level hospital, Te Wao Nui will be a lifeline for families across our region. With a large catchment area, the hospital provides exceptionally high-level health care to families in the wider Wellington, Nelson, Marlborough, Whanganui, Hawkes Bay and Manawatu areas. Critically and chronically sick children are referred from the smaller centres for major operations, specialist consultations and when lifesaving emergency and intensive care treatment is required.
Now, for the very first time, a full range of paediatric services is brought together under one roof. As well as inpatient medical and surgical wards, Te Wao Nui includes all outpatient children’s clinics and speciality services as well as Allied Health and Child Development Service clinics. This allows for much easier collaboration across different paediatric specialities for those children with complex or multidisciplinary needs.
The Foundation is grateful to the thousands of donors who have supported our campaign to raise $10 million to outfit and equip the interior of Te Wao Nui. But bricks and mortar are only part of the story and there is still much mahi to do to ensure that we have a high quality Child Health Service now and into the future. With over 87,000 child admissions and appointments every year, your gift will make an incredible difference.
With level 2 (outpatients) and level 3 (surgical ward) opening on 17 October 2022, the new hospital will ensure that tamariki and rangitahi can access the best possible care in a modern, multimillion-dollar, fit for purpose paediatric facility.