Gisborne Wainui Lions donation to Hospice Tairawhiti rebuild

Gisborne Wainui Lions have marked their 40 years of support for palliative care in the region with a donation of $10,000 from the proceeds of projects such as the sale of Christmas trees, the train rides at the Junior Cycle Park and the Beach Dig to Hospice Tairawhiti. The club’s association with the service began in 1979 with a contribution towards Dr James Carsten’s research of a similar initiative in Canada and, on his return, further financial support towards setting up the new service in 1980. However, the project received little financial support from health authorities and relied heavily on public donations. The future of the fledgling service was looking bleak. But some Wainui Lions members had seen the difference that pain relief had made to the experience of family members by allowing them to die with dignity and hit on the idea of a ‘radiothon’ to raise funds to enable the service to carry on. The club’s enthusiasm won the support of other Lions and Lioness Clubs in the region, local amateur radio, radio personality George Balani (flown in courtesy of NAC), the local MP and many others, and 350 people manned telephones for 12 hours to raise $25,000, which not only enabled  the service to survive but also gave it much needed publicity. Since then, ongoing support from Wainui Lions and other Gisborne service clubs, as well as improved funding from health authorities, has ensured the continuation of this unique hospice service for the region.

Barabara Grout, General Manager of Hospice Tairawhiti, and Shane Kingsbeer of Kingsbeer Architects spoke to the club at their recent Charter Anniversary meeting about the new hospice facility soon to be built on the Gisborne Hospital grounds.

Barabara thanked the club for the cheque for $10,000 on behalf of Hospice Tairawhiti and told the group that the cost of the build is estimated to be $3.1million. With $458,00 left to raise, Hospice Tairawhiti is needing the local community to get behind the final push for funding. There is no in-patient unit planned, and patients needing admission will continue to be cared for in our two dedicated hospital beds in Gisborne Hospital. The design of the new facility does, however, allow for addition of an in-patient unit if required in future years. It will allow hospice to provide additional services and give patients and whanau more choice in the way their services are delivered. “This is a local project, funded locally, and we want to keep the construction within the community, using local contractors and suppliers where possible”, she said.

Shane showed a virtual walk-through of the new building, saying “Hospice Tairawhiti’s new purpose-built facility is designed to embrace light and warmth and provide a sense of home for staff and whanau alike. Large skylights and highlight glazing allow natural light to flow into the heart of the building, wrapped in natural materials often found in the New Zealand home, including sustainably grown thermally modified New Zealand pine. All components have been carefully considered, with sustainability a principle approach to design”.


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