The existing ‘Hospice House’ pictured under construction, was officially opened on 3 September 2005.
Palliative care in New Zealand originated from within local communities, supported by local funding and run by volunteers. Their goal was to provide holistic care for those with life ending illness.
Moves to establish a Hospice service for West Auckland began with the calling of a public meeting at Kelston Community Centre on February 21 1986, chaired by His Worship the Mayor of Waitemata City Mr Tim Shadbolt. On May 20, volunteers were called for to form a Steering Committee, and on May 29 the inaugural meeting of the West Auckland Hospice Steering Committee was held at ‘The Homestead’ Pt Chevalier. In December the West Auckland Hospice Charitable Trust Deed was formally signed, and the Steering Committee formed a Board of Trustees. The Hospice West Auckland eight founding trustees were Maureen Brooker, Sir Thomas Clark, Dr Ritchie Gilmour, Lois Holmes, Dianne Paton, Peter Sinclair, Victor Sunde and Philip Revell.
At the April 1987 Trustee Board Meeting, Beverley Revell was appointed as Nurse Coordinator on a part time, voluntary basis, and The Trustee Board formally adopted the title West Auckland Hospice HomeCare. By July the HomeCare Trust began to officially accept referrals, and in August Beverly introduced the HomeCare services to Auckland Hospital. Throughout this time Beverly operated the HomeCare service from her own home.
In 1988 the Henderson Borough Council donated a house to Hospice which was relocated onto land at Woodford Avenue. The community then responded through the Henderson Rotary Club to refurbish the house. An enormous amount of effort by many people helped to transform a dilapidated cottage into the warm, friendly and welcoming house that it became. At the official opening of Hospice House, attended by the Very Reverend Sir Paul Reeves, the Henderson Rotary Club presented a ‘Certificate of Service Above Self’ to Beverly Revell.
At the five year celebrations, held at Hospice House in 1992, The Chairman of the Trustees Sir Tom Clark had great pleasure in giving out certificates of achievement to all the volunteers who had given five years of service to Hospice.
A year of significance for Hospice, as a grant was received from ASB to allow the team to complete extensions on Hospice House. Founder Beverly Revell was also awarded a Certificate of Appreciation by the Waitakere Council in honour of suffrage year.
By 1994 these extensions were complete and the opening featured local MP’s and dignitaries including Sir Thomas and Lady Clark.
There was still no inpatient unit and so in 1995 a partnership was made with West Harbour Gardens Private Hospital for use of one of their beds.
In 1997 Sir Thomas Clark (Formula One Driver and Crown Lynn Founder) became the Patron of West Auckland Hospice HomeCare. 1997 also saw the presentation of the City of Waitakere plaque in recognition of ten years of service to the community.
An end of an era for Hospice, with founder Beverly Revell leaving and Chris Smith being appointed CEO. However the following year Chris left to become the CEO of the Muscular Dystrophy Association of New Zealand.
In 2004, current CEO Barbara Williams joined Hospice West Auckland as the Business Services Manager.
2004 also saw the start of a new purpose built facility for Hospice in Te Atatu Peninsula. The new building was built to allow a rapidly growing work force and to provide a warm and welcoming atmosphere for patients and their families.
The Te Atatu building ‘Hospice House’ was officially opened on 3 September 2005. The build was supported by the Portage and Waitakere Licensing Trust who each allocated $500,000.00 towards the build, and the community rallied to help.
In June 2005, Patron Sir Thomas Clark, passed away.
Business leader Sir Graeme Douglas, founder and head of Douglas Pharmaceuticals was welcomed on board as Patron in 2006. Business Services Manager Barbara Williams also became CEO in the same year.
In 2007 Phillip Revell resigned from his position of Chair after twenty years of dedication to Hospice, and was replaced by Linda Cooper.
Hospice West Auckland continued to grow, with a new fleet of sponsored cars and commercial vehicles arriving in 2009. Staffing increased and Hospice West Auckland began to receive recognition for its professional staff and high quality of service and care.
In 2010 Beverly Revell received the Queen's Service Medal for services to the community.
At the end of 2012 Hospice West Auckland embarked on a new journey to build four specialist palliative care bedrooms at Hospice House on Te Atatu Peninsula. On Friday 4 October 2013, New Zealand’s Prime Minister, the honourable John Key officially opened the first two bedrooms in the ‘Kowhai Suite’ in an early morning blessing. In 2014 two more specialist palliative care bedrooms were completed, bringing the total to four beds available for the people of West Auckland, meaning patients no longer needed to travel out of the area for short stay Hospice care.
In 2013, Linda Cooper stood down from her position as Chairperson with Lisa Roberts taking on the role.
In 2014 Hospice West Auckland opened a second base the ‘Living & Learning Centre’ in Henderson, attached to a new distribution centre for the retail goods side of the organisation. The Social Care, Volunteer Services and Community Education teams now operate from this new centre and continue to grow.
Hospice West Auckland has continued to grow in response to the needs of the community, and in 2015 has a current staff of 70+ employees and an active volunteer workforce of over 500. With the huge jump in operating costs over the past 2 years since the opening of the Kowhai Suite beds, a shortfall in funding is currently a major challenge for the organisation in 2015.