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Significant Hospice Upgrade To Begin In New Year With Rucon Leading Construction Team

Harbour Hospice will ‘break ground’ on its ambitious $20M building project at Shea Terrace, Takapuna in February 2021 with Rucon Construction & Property appointed to lead the construction team.

With expertise in high value redevelopments and by harnessing expert thinking in healthcare projects, Rucon was successful in the competitive tender process with its focus on the methodology and highly considered approach which acknowledged and found solutions to minimise disruption to patient care and family support.

Time is critical for this project as the current Hospice in Shea Terrace, Takapuna will not meet future palliative care needs.

Demand across the Harbour Hospice region is expected to grow by 50% in the next 14 years, and 90% in the next 40 years. In addition, its Inpatient Unit needs to be reclad within two years or the ability to provide this vital service will be compromised. “We are already feeling the impact of this growth. Our need is urgent and we must act now,” Harbour Hospice Chief Executive, Jan Nichols said.

“Our number one priority throughout the build process is to ensure minimal disruption to patient care, with all services able to continue as close to 100% as much as possible.”

From left - Project Director Graeme Birkhead, Project Manager Doug Whitcombe,Jan Nichols and Rucon Director Dan Russek.

Rucon’s tender saw an innovative approach to ensure this happens, including framing and major assembly work taking place offsite and a construction period that was considerably shorter than we expected.”

The complexity and significance of this project appealed to Rucon, with Director Dan Russek knowing too well the community impact of this work. His wife’s stepmother was cared for by Hibiscus House in 2011 and they still talk about the level of care, describing it as “over and above in every way.”

“This job not only requires immense planning but a deep level of sensitivity and understanding of the critical work of Hospice and what goes on within this special place. Some of those families will be experiencing moments they’ll never get back, so minimising noise and disturbance, along with delivering an exceptional future-proofed solution, is core to the success of this project,” Russek said.

Despite the challenges faced by the Covid-19 pandemic, project planning has not lost momentum. The construction will take place in three phases, each designed within strict timeframes to ensure the least possible impact to patients, families and Hospice staff. The project is expected to be complete in late 2022.

Rucon is the latest to join the skilled project team, many of which hold strong personal ties to the North Shore including Project Manager Doug Whitcombe, Graham White (White Associates) and Rachael Rush (Klein Architects) all of whom are local residents. Rucon was also responsible for building The Goodside in Smales Farm - a close neighbour of the Takapuna Hospice.

The impact of this project extends far and wide with significant benefits for patients and their families, Harbour Hospice inpatient and community doctors, nurses and support teams and the wider North Shore community.

There will be more patient rooms, improved facilities for families and carers, multi-use spaces, a state-of-the-art community centre and improved work spaces to name just a few, but this bold vision can only be achieved with community support.

To date, early fundraising efforts have secured $4.6 million, almost half of the campaign target of $10 million. “We are continually humbled by the ongoing generosity of those who have gifted to this project so far, however we need community backing to help us achieve our bold vision,” Nichols said.

The remaining $10 million is being contributed from its Development Foundation built up by the Hospice over past decades.

Despite this good progress, Harbour Hospice learnt in recent weeks that it was unsuccessful in its application to the Government’s shovel-ready infrastructure scheme. This would have given the project a significant leg up but Nichols reiterates that “we mustn’t lose focus and momentum on the important job at hand.”

To learn more about the project, track progress and find out how you can get involved, visit

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