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Blessing of the Band Rotunda

Media Release

Date: 25 February 2014


Waikato Hospital’s band rotunda is more than 110 years old and has quite the history in Waikato’s health story, so its move from a temporary location on campus to its final destination earlier this month, was an occasion worth capturing.

The band rotunda, which originally came to Waikato Hospital from Te Waikato, the first public Tuberculosis sanatorium in New Zealand when it closed in 1922, moved to behind the Hockin Building in 2009, as part of the Building Programme, to await restoration and rehoming.

Ian Wolstencroft, Jason Addison, Kate Foster and Helena Berard from the Building Programme Office joined John Graham (Mental Health) and chaplain Raumiria McRoberts in a low-key blessing ceremony.

Staff can now continue to use the band rotunda in its new location on the northern side of Hockin Building.

The history of the band rotunda

Taken from: Cambridge Climate to Chemotherapy: The Changing Treatment of Tuberculosis in the Waikato 1900-2010 by Alexandra Kate Horsley for the Waikato Health Memorabilia Trust.

When Te Waikato closed, all of the sanatorium’s buildings, as well as the contents, were auctioned off to private institutions or individuals. The main ward, Thornton manor itself, was completely dismantled.

Waikato Hospital was given the Russell Ward free of charge on the condition that the Waikato Hospital Board would pay for the removal and re-erection of the ward.

Waikato Hospital also obtained four of the large shelters and the band rotunda.

With the closure of Te Waikato, Waikato Hospital became a main centre of treatment for the majority of TB cases in the Waikato.

The Russell Ward was renamed the Sunshine Ward and used to treat and house sick children, while the four shelters were used as a male staff quarters.

The band rotunda was installed on a lawn just to the north of the main wards.

While in this location, the band rotunda was used for band concerts and interestingly, as an occasional shelter for patients.

In the 1920s, Waikato Hospital was relatively small for the number of people seeking admission, and there was often a problem with overcrowding. When the number of patients was extremely high, the band rotunda was covered with canvas or tents, in order to make it relatively waterproof, and used to house a small number of beds.

In 1969, it was moved to a new location adjacent to Hockin Ward when a surgical block was built on the original site. It was moved from this location in 2009, due to the building programme, and was put behind the Hockin Corporate Centre under the care and protection of the Property and Infrastructure Department, awaiting restoration and a permanent home.

The Smithy Building

The Smithy Building also moved with the band rotunda.

J. Gordon Smith known as "Bugs" Smith came to Hamilton in December 1921 to start the first laboratory at Waikato Hospital. He worked at the hospital for 44 years.

He used the building in question to research bovine mastitis. Attached is an article from the Northern Advocate 1925 which noted the work Mr Smith did:


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