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New Zealand’s Oldest Children’s Hospital is Turning 100

8 March 2012

New Zealand’s Oldest Children’s Hospital is Turning 100

The Governor General of New Zealand, His Excellency Lt Gen Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae and Her Excellency Lady Janine Mateparae open refurbished Children’s Wards; 2pm, Monday 12 March.

Wellington Children’s Hospital had an unorthodox start that included fundraising from a scandalous vaudeville show to become the first Children’s Hospital in New Zealand. Next week we are celebrating 100 years of helping sick children in the Wellington Region.

100 years later, and after considerable advances in medicine and the way we care for children, the community still continues to play a key role in Children's Health.

On Monday 12 March at 2pm, The Governor General of New Zealand His Excellency Lt Gen Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae and Her Excellency Lady Janine Mateparae will formally open the refurbished children’s wards and celebrate the centenary of Wellington Children’s hospital with staff, patients and their families.

Historical Note
In 1910 Wellington’s Mayoress, Mrs T Wilford, began a campaign to raise funds for a children’s hospital. At the same time a risqué vaudeville show called The Girl from Rectors was being staged at the Opera House.

There was bitter opposition to the show from the city’s clergy, which only boosted its popularity – especially after they denounced the show as immoral.

The shows promoters decided to show their goodwill and give all proceeds of the show to the children’s hospital coffers. The end result saw overflowing audiences and total fundraising efforts, including donations and a government subsidy amount to £16,000.

After the Children’s Hospital was built there was a surplus of £800 which was used to buy a series of large nursery rhyme tile murals from Royal Doulton in England, which are still on display in the Wellington Children’s Hospital today.


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