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Fifty Years of providing “A home Away from Home”

Ozanam House - Fifty Years of providing “A home Away from Home”

In 1967, a totally unique form of patient accommodation for out of town patients was opened for the benefit of cancer patients, and their carers, receiving treatment in the Palmerston North Hospital. Conceived by the Society of St Vincent de Paul and developed in 1971 in collaboration with the Cancer Society Manawatu. The original Ozanam House began with four bedroom home. Today, the Ozanam House Trust caters for over 68 patients with carers and is made up of over a dozen houses on two separate sites.

This fifty year story, however, stretches far outside the Manawatu. It ranges as far afield as Gisborne, East Coast, Hawkes Bay, Napier, Hastings, Wairoa, Masterton, Waitara, Hawera, Wanganui, Taihape and New Plymouth… and includes all the thousands of people from around the Central North Island who have been touched by, and have themselves made their mark on, Ozanam House. From donors like the Williams Family of Gisborne, who have for decades been tireless financial supporters of the facility, to the individual guests who make Ozanam feel, as one resident put it, ‘like a family reunion of total strangers’, the story of Ozanam House is theirs as well.

The Trust is grateful for the support received from many donors in the regions, and the ongoing support of communities in the provincial towns of Waitara, Wairoa, Hawera, Inglewood, Stratford, Waipukurau, Napier, Hastings and many others in between. It is also very heartened by the ongoing generous support from the small communities in Taranaki, Hawkes Bay and Gisborne, East Coast. Many individuals and service clubs, especially the Lions, have supported Ozanam through community fundraising and enabled the Trust to maintain its high standard of accommodation.

‘A Home Away From Home Like No Other’, published by the Ozanam House Trust to celebrate a half-century of the House’s operations, retells the history of this remarkable charitable endeavour. Based on extensive research and dozens of interviews with its guiding Trustees past and present, their families, staff and residents, ‘A Home Away From Home’ stretches from New Zealand in the middle of the 20th Century right up to the present day.

Fully illustrated using archive visual materials and recent photography, ‘A Home Away from Home…’ tells the story of how Ozanam Trustees and staff adapted to advances in medical technologies; negotiated with funding bodies at the local and national level; and struggled to keep up with a fluctuating need for accommodation. But it also tells a story about people; not only those guiding the project ‘behind the scenes’, but the individual residents who gave and give Ozanam House its special heart and character.

Countless numbers of individuals, along with service clubs, trusts, estates and other service organisations have contributed their financial, practical and emotional support to Ozanam House. Without them, it would not be able to provide the unique service it does today.


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