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Waikato Hospital celebrates 125th anniversary with book launch

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Waikato Hospital celebrates 125th anniversary with book launch

Some 125 years ago, Waikato Hospital was a small kauri farm cottage overlooking Lake Rotoroa in Hamilton.

Today it stands as a sprawling campus undergoing a $430 million building programme - the biggest redevelopment in its history - and has a staff of more than 6000 people.

To mark the 125th anniversary of the hospital a limited-edition book, The Village on the Hill: Celebrating 125 Years of Waikato Hospital, will be launched on Thursday (December 1).

The day marks exactly 125 years since the first meeting of the Waikato Hospital and Charitable Aid Board in Hamilton on December 1, 1886.

The 160-page, hard-cover book contains 48 pages of historic photographs, profiles of current staff and press releases documenting newsworthy hospital happenings in 2011.

Inserted in the back of the book is a DVD produced by students from Wintec's School of Media Arts called A Day in the Life, documenting the daily life of some staff working 'behind the scenes' of the hospital. There is also an additional video featuring four long-serving nurses l-r Rena Burgess (1955), Maria Roberts (1961), Jean Tabrum (1954) and Carolyn Gibbs (1965) being interviewed by Waikato DHB communications director Mary Anne Gill and filmed by the DHB's medical photographers Sunil Bange and Mark Forster-King.

Just 8000 copies of the book and DVD have been produced, with the majority going to Waikato DHB staff as a gift.

Waikato Health Trust, a charity which supports health and disability services in the Waikato District Health Board area, has donated $150,000 to fund the book and DVD.

Trust chair Pippa Mahood says Waikato Hospital has a rich history, and, with the current building revamp and on its 125th anniversary, the timing was right for a book to celebrate its people.

"There are a huge number of people who have worked at the hospital for many years, and this is a chance to say 'thank you' to staff," says Mahood. "Waikato Hospital is the city's largest employer. Its contribution to the economy, the wellbeing and the social harmony of Hamilton can not be underestimated. It crosses all levels of society, it has a tertiary link, and wins awards regularly. It is a small town, and it's the central hub for health in the region."

The book contains profiles of 31 staff currently working at the hospital, each talking about their job and a 'typical day' for them.

Included are a mortuary technician, a student nurse, a barista, a social worker, a perinatal psychologist, a paediatric surgeon, a midwife and a laboratory technician.

Among the staff are those who have worked at the hospital for three or four decades, including Child Development Centre administrator Julie-Anne Smyth, and electrical maintenance supervisor Alan Duggan.

There are those who have a multi-generational family connection, including Director of Paediatric Anaesthetics Doctor Hugh Douglas. His father, grandfather and great-grandfather have all worked at the hospital, and all have been named Dr Hugh Douglas.

The book is collaboration between three Waikato institutions: the Waikato DHB, Wintec and Hamilton-based printing company Print House.

Wintec journalism tutor Charles Riddell says the project was "a wonderful opportunity for students and tutors to apply skills learnt in the classroom to a real-life production, run to professional deadlines and client specifications".

Among the contributors were journalism, photography, moving image and graphic design students.

Design lecturer Simon Nicholls oversaw the book's design and layout, while senior lecturer in Graphic & Digital Design Mark Liu put together a website,

The production of the book was an exciting challenge for staff at Frankton-based company Print House, says manager Stephen O'Toole.

To give the historic photographs a more authentic feel, that section was printed on environmentally friendly Eco-100 paper stock (Forest Stewardship Council accredited).

The book is case-bound and section-sewn, with a hard cover, with a silver foil title on the front, and with a full colour dust jacket featuring a modern image of Waikato Hospital.

"It's come out looking good," says Print House manager Stephen O'Toole. "We are really pleased with the result. We enjoyed our collaboration with the Waikato DHB and with Wintec to bring it all together."

Note for editors:

At 21 hectares, Waiora Waikato is the largest hospital campus site in Australasia. It serves a population of more than 365,700 people in an area covering eight per cent of New Zealand, from Coromandel to Taumarunui. It also provides tertiary services - including neurosurgery and other highly complex surgeries, specialised medical procedures and specialist trauma services - to a regional population of more than 832,600 people across the Midland region, including the Bay of Plenty and Gisborne.

The Village on the Hill: Celebrating 125 Years of Waikato Hospital will be officially launched at a formal function on December 6, although a small pre-screening of the DVD will take place on December 1 for staff who featured in the book and DVD.

For more of a taste of the book and DVD see, or for a review copy of the book please contact Mary Anne Gill.

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