Due to the generosity of Veta Mary James, in May 1998 Waipuna Hospice was able to move to its new location at Te Puna by the beautiful Wairoa River. A year later building extensions were completed to accommodate the new community service wing.

By September 2001 the six bed in-patient facility was ready for patient intake. Research showed that there was a great need for 24 hour palliative care in our community. The local Lions Club supported the project by raising the funds needed to furnish and equip the facility.

Between 2003 and 2004, however, the IPU faced uncertain times and was at risk of closing. The community rallied and provided tremendous support to ensure that the hospice service, which they acknowledged held an essential place, would remain open and go from strength to strength.

The growing – and ageing – population in the district and the increased complexity of patients’ needs led to further development of the hospice facilty. Seven more Inpatient rooms, support service offices, a new training room and extended carparks were completed in December 2006.

In March 2015 a further expansion was completed thanks to a generous grant from Tauranga Energy Consumers Trust (TECT) and matched by the Waipuna Hospice Foundation.  Its future-proof purpose is multi-faceted, catering for education and training sessions, day services clinics, play therapy, assessment and treatment rooms, massage therapy, and more.

Waipuna Hospice has come a long way and all these achievements would not have been possible without all the wonderful people who support this special cause.

Thank you to the Jenkins, without whom the hospice might never have evolved. Thank you to Veta James, whose generosity enabled much of the development.

Thank you to all the volunteers who have worked unconditionally. Thank you to the community minded people, staff, committee members, patrons, board members, donors and supporters for all their time, effort and money. This is a very special community and we hope the community spirit will live on and continue to support Waipuna Hospice.

Waipuna Hospice began when a wonderful couple, Pat and Jack Jenkins, decided that after their death a bequest from their estate be made for the specific purpose of providing the community with a hospice service.

An old villa situated at 881 Cameron Road and owned by the hospital leant itself to the ideal location for the hospice. The three bedroom villa was refurbished and on the 30th of June 1989 the hospice offically opened its doors. It was purely a voluntary organisation initially, which took the first steps towards providing support services with volunteers working alongside cancer nurses in the community. The day unit at the hospice as a drop-in centre Monday to Friday.

Marlene Ware, a social worker at the hospital, came up with the name “Waipuna”. When talking to Hinemanu Ohia at their kaumatua meetings, she found out that the hill behind the hospital was called Waipuna long before the villa was built. Waipuna means “spring of water” or “water well” which endorses the hospice philosophy of affirming life. The name was adopted after consulation with, and approval being given by, the local iwi.

As far back as 1992 consideration was being given to the feasibility of 24 hour patient care. The idea was to add four bedrooms to the existing building. In March 1993 an application was lodged with the Lottery Grants Board for funds to reorganise the existing house into a three bed in patient unit. This was turned down.  Later in November 1993 the management committee reaffirmed to the hospital their wish to purchase the building and adjoining land. This was turned down as well.

The appointment of a manager followed in 1995 and a palliative care nursing service was established in October 1996.

In 1995 hospital and hospice personnel formed a working party to review Palliative care services. They put forward a proposal to the CHE/Government outlining the Palliative care needs for this area. Nothing eventuated and all was lost when the group disbanded due to the restructuring process.

Patient and staff numbers continued to increase, as did the services Waipuna Hospice provided. We outgrew the Cameron Road facilities.