At first light, the earth on the Nelson Tasman Hospice’s new site in Stoke was overturned during a ceremony to bless the land. At a dawn ceremony on Tuesday
the land on Suffolk Rd, which will soon be the new home of the region’s hospice, was blessed by Archdeacon Harvey Ruru.
Nelson Tasman Hospice CEO Frans Dellebeke said the ceremony was a moving experience with staff, board members and representatives from
Nelson Marlborough Health and Nelson Bays Primary Health present. “It is a beautiful site, it is just absolutely perfect and we are all extremely happy.”
A hole was prepared on the site and stones of significance were placed in it by those at the ceremony, including one from the Sally McCormack House,
which is where the hospice first began in Nelson. The hole was covered over and the stones would remain under the pathway leading into the building.
Dellebeke said the milestone acknowledged the people that were going to come onto the site, including the patients, families and staff. There had been a
bit of work done to prepare the site, but Dellebeke said in two weeks’ time the foundations would be dug out and then the concrete slabs would be poured by the end of the year.
The building was expected to be finished for handover to the hospice in December 2018.
He said the staff were very excited to see the development begin. Aerial photographs would be taken every couple of days to keep track of the build progress.
Dellebeke said he recently learnt that the Rata Foundation had given the hospice a grant of $250,000 to go towards the new build. “To get something like this
is fantastic news for hospice, for the community and certainly will help us in our fundraising campaign.”
The fundraising campaign for the new $11.5 million building was launched in August where it was announced the hospice had already raised $7.5m, made up
from a mixture of investments, assets, bequests and donations. Grants and payment in kind support was estimated to make up another $1.5m.
The hospice is asking for the community’s help to raise the remaining $2.5m for the project.