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Nau Mai Haere Mai. Welcome.

Wellington Regional Charity Hospital

The Trust

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Ngā ringa o

Te Wheke-a-Muturangi

The many hands of  Te Wheke-a-Muturangi

make light work when in unison

An ambitious vision drives the team behind He Ringa Āwhina: a New Zealand where everyone has access to the surgical and medical services they need to live their life with dignity.

The purpose is to create a charitable hospital that provides free specialist services for the people of the Wellington region who are ineligible for such care from the existing public health institutions and are unable to afford private medical care or health insurance. 

About us

About us

He Ringa Āwhina - Wellington Regional Charity Hospital will provide care by building a resilient and sustainable organisation on foundations of dignity of life, love and care, voluntarism, charity and run on values of compassion, hospitality, respect, stewardship and teamwork.

Funded by the community, for the community, the Wellington Regional Charity Hospital Trust will ensure our community receives the care they deserve by providing healthcare for eligible people. Our patient catchment will match the area covered by Wellington Free Ambulance.

From Cook Strait to just north of Waikanae on the Kapiti Coast, and across to Mt Bruce in the Wairarapa, a population of 500,000 people. He Ringa Āwhina is modelled on the successful Canterbury Charity Hospital, which has helped thousands of patients since its inception in 2007.

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What to we do

What do we do

The hospital will provide specialist elective day surgery and medical outpatient clinics for those in the Wellington region community who can’t otherwise access these services. Services are continually changing to meet the needs of the community and the changing capacities of the public health system. This requires ongoing monitoring of referral patients and regular communication with the public system and staff. 

The exact details of the services He Ringa Āwhina will provide are to be determined, but we are aiming at providing:

General Surgery: Hernia, Anorectal (Haemorrhoids), Colonoscopy

Orthopaedics: Hand/Foot surgery

Plastics / dermatology / GP:  Skin Lesions

Vascular: Varicose Vein procedures

Other procedures include: Hysteroscopy / Cataracts / Simple ENT procedures / Flexible Cystoscopy for Urological complaints, and other non surgical and procedural options.

How you can help

To offer the services envisaged, He Ringa Āwhina will need to locate suitable promises and fit them out with theatres, medical equipment, consulting rooms and administration support. He Ringa Āwhina will not receive any Government or DHB funding and will rely on donations, grants and the generosity of the wider community to continue helping people in the Wellington region in need.


Principal sources of funding will be grant funding and major philanthropic investment for major capital expenditure such as leasing and fitting out our premises and acquiring medical equipment and plant (estimated to be about $7 million), and public donations, bequests and fundraising activities to cover on-going running costs, including medical supplies (estimated at about $1 million per year).

How can you help
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The Trust
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Contact us
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Dame Kerry Prendergast

Dame Kerry chairs Wellington Free Ambulance, the NZ Film Commission, the Royal NZ Ballet, Wellington Opera, and she sits on the board of Oceania Ltd, an age care provider, Victoria University Foundation, NZ Community Trust, and several other organisations. She has been the chair of NZ Tourism and EPA. A local government politician for 27 years, she was Mayor of Wellington from 2001-2010. Her profession was a nurse and then midwife.


Neil Paviour-Smith

Neil is the managing director of Forsyth Barr and was an inaugural recipient of a Sir Peter Blake Trust Leadership Award in 2005. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Finance Professionals NZ, and has been Chair of the NZ Society of Investment Analysts. He has worked in financial markets based in Wellington for over 30 years with extensive governance experience.  He is the past Chancellor of Victoria University of Wellington and has served as a Director of NZX and Chartered Accountants Australia New Zealand, chairing the NZICA Regulatory Board. He is a Director of the economic think-tank New Zealand Initiative and NZ Art Show Ltd.


Chris Norman, Advisor

Chris was appointed to the position of Operating Theatres Services Manager at Wakefield Hospital in 1999. This role involved the clinical and management aspects of complex surgery across 6 operating theatres. Chris resigned from this position after 21 years in October 2021. Prior to this Chris managed the Acute Out of Hours surgery in the Operating Theatre at Capital Coast Health. Theatre has always been her passion due to the complexity and diversity of the surgery.


Debbie Gee, independent communications consultant
Debbie had extensive experience in senior leadership and strategy in central and local government prior to setting up her own business. Her areas of expertise and experience include stakeholder engagement, communication, public consultation, social marketing and change and project management across a diverse range of organisations and sectors. Debbie is also a qualified mediator, facilitator, coach and trainer and serves as a director on a number of non-profit boards.

The Trust

He Ringa Āwhina – Wellington Regional Charity Hospital Trust has been incorporated and has been granted Charitable Trust status. Its establishment Trust Board members are:


Dr Graham Sharpe, ONZM (Chair)

Graham has been a specialist anaesthetist at Wellington Hospital for over 30 years. A former President of the New Zealand Society of Anaesthetists, he is also a reserve officer in the RNZAMC and has served on a number of medical boards and committees.  


Dr Phil Dashfield
Phil works as a GP at Newtown Union Health Service, a primary care practice in Wellington which serves an ethnically diverse, low income population. The vast majority don't have health insurance or the means to pay for private hospital care when the public system declines them for treatment, so Phil has almost daily experience of the frustration and suffering resulting from unmet need.


Dr James Tietjens
James has worked as a consultant general surgeon at Hutt Valley DHB since 2017. He maintains a wholly public practice with a sub-speciality interest in colorectal surgery. James is currently the supervisor of general surgery training in the hospital, and is a strong advocate for trainee welfare and education.


Dr Anna Davison
Anna is a long term associate GP at Newlands Medical Centre in Wellington where she has worked since 2006. She has a wide interest in all aspects of family medicine and has postgraduate diplomas in paediatrics and obstetrics and gynaecology. She has been a tutor in medical student training and has been extensively involved in her community as a volunteer at her children's schools and sports teams.


Tim Clarke
Tim is a Partner in law firm Russel McVeagh, where he leads the Public Law and Policy practice. He is a member of the Trust Boards of the Motu Economic Trust and Foundation; Tim has a long-standing interest in medico-legal issues and was part of the legal team that assisted Ms Lecretia Seales in her law reform project on End Of Life Choice.


Murray Jack
Murray is an independent director and advisor. He is a previous Chair of the Financial Markets Authority and Chartered Accountants Aus & NZ. He was formerly CEO and then Chair of Deloitte NZ. He has served on advisory boards and Ministerial committees and has carried out several independent reviews for the government. Most recently he has served on the oversight bodies for the COVID 19 vaccination and health system preparedness programmes.


Vito Lo Iacono, Chief Executive
Originally from Sicily, Vito has now lived in NZ for 28 years. He has deliberately carved out a varied career spanning the music industry, marketing, sports management, NFP and public sector.  As an independent strategic consultant, Vito's specialist interest and passion in leadership development, coaching and business growth sees him partner with SMEs and charity organisations helping them understand their teams, inspiring leaders to look at the behaviour of their business from a strategic standpoint.  Vito's deep understanding of employee experience directly affecting customer experience, helps organisations bridge the gap and result in their desired growth. 

Our Patron

“I am excited about the development of He Ringa Āwhina and delighted to be able to play a part in what I am sure will become a significant contributor to the future health and wellbeing of communities in the Wellington region.”


Right Honourable Dame Patsy Reddy GNZM CVO QSO DSt

Dame Patsy served as the Governor-General of New Zealand for five years from 2016 – 2021. Trained as a lawyer, she has had extensive experience in governance and business consulting roles, both in the public and private sector including with several creative and charitable organisations.

She is currently a director of New Zealand Rugby and Crown Regional Holdings, Chair of the NZSO Foundation and a Trustee of Aspen Institute NZ.


She is also Patron of Transparency International NZ, Brain Research New Zealand Rangahau Roro Aotearoa, Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua, and Hospice Wairarapa.

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