Nelson Tasman Hospice staff Kaz Coleman, Dianne Timbs, Suss Walding meet Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at the opening of the new hospice. Photo: Jonty Dine.

Prime Minister officially opens new hospice


The Nelson Tasman Hospice has been officially opened to the region after a multi million dollar fundraising effort from the community.

At the opening on Thursday, hospice chief executive Frans Dellebeke said the facility reflects the importance the hospice holds within Nelson.

He said there were thousands of individuals that have helped contribute to the facility, which is now among the best in the county.

“Our community has funded this building; we can now continue to provide quality palliative service for many years to come.”

Guests of honour at the unveiling included Betty and Greg Drumm, who were the sister and nephew of the Hospice’s biggest benefactor, Daniel O’Brien.

Daniel died in 2016 and bequeathed $4.2million towards the hospice.

“His generous request has made all the difference in being able to get where we are today,” Frans said.

His contribution was honoured through the naming of the Daniel O’Brien In Patient Wing.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern officially opened the building.

The new Nelson Tasman Hospice began taking in patients from April 11 and Ardern said she felt incredibly humbled to attend the ceremony and unveil the hospice’s plaque at its entrance.

“This building belongs to you; this is a community project.”

She said the scale of contribution made by the community had been immense.

“I hope, when you drive past this facility, you feel enormously proud.”

Ardern says there are 19,000 Kiwis that use palliative services every year.

“All of us will have a story and the care, compassion and knowledge that exists inside these buildings is second to none.”

Several initiatives, including Dancing with the Stars and Steampunk Fantasy fundraisers, contributed to the completion of the project.

The soil was broken in February 2018 with an original budget of around $13 million and managed to come in under this with the facility costing $11.5million.

Earlier, the Prime Minister spoke to the Nelson Tasman Chamber of Commerce at the Trafalgar Centre as she laid out the government’s strategy to address the skills shortage in regional New Zealand.

She then went on to thank the firefighters that battled the Tasman fires earlier this year.