Sir Jerry re-dedicates HB Hospital
By Doug Laing
It was a day of commemoration in Hastings yesterday as the public hospital was re-dedicated as the Hawke’s Bay Fallen Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital.
The commemoration came on the third day of a provincial tour by Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae and wife Lady Janine.
It is 175 years since the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, it is 150 years since government was centralised in Wellington, and it is 100 years since the World War I Gallipoli landings, as Sir Jerry would later remind the gathering.
A service opened by kaumatua Matiu Eru – noting later his grandfather and Sir Jerry’s grandfather were brothers- took place in the courtyard behind the hospital’s recently refurbished 88-year-old chapel, which was also re-dedicated as part of the proceedings.
Especially proud to be present in a gathering of more than 200 people was Elsie Leipst, who was at the chapel’s first Anzac Day service in 1928. It was then she made a promise to grandfather Alfred Leipst to return as a nurse, which she did in 1939 in the first intake of the School of Nursing, the start of a 40-year career at the hospital.
She sat comparatively anonymously among the dignitaries facing the crowd from beneath an awning, which squeaked and shook occasionally when caught by the breeze on a morning that had its moments. One was the noisy landing of the Lowe Corporation rescue helicopter, drowning out the story of the chapel’s history related by co-ordinating chaplain Rev Barbara Walker. As she talked of technology and other changes over the years, it may have seemed an appropriate flyover, but it was simply a maintenance flight made, oblivious of the timing of the events below. Rev Walker soldiered on, before the official party entered the chapel for the unveiling of a plaque by the Governor-General.
The re-dedication of the hospital followed, with some extra significance for the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association representative John Sturgiss, who apologised for the absence of the Hastings RSA president, who was, nevertheless, on the hospital site, as a patient. Mr Sturgiss noted the RSA’s long association with both the hospital and the chapel, as did territorial force volunteer and hospital nurse Rochelle Robertson, who said the fallen and those who served should never be forgotten, and the name of the hospital would remind everyone of that.
Sir Jerry said the hospital is a memorial to New Zealand soldiers, and also a tribute to those who worked to establish the hospital many years ago.
The morning ended with the Governor-General unveiling the sign, which restored a name that had been lost amid the centralisation of Hawke’s Bay hospital services when, in 1998, the district health board named the regional facility as the Hawke’s Bay Hospital Soldiers’ Memorial.
Earlier yesterday, Sir Jerry visited Te Aute College, while his wife visited Hohepa Work Centre and Cheese Factory.
Later they visited the viticulture school at the EIT in Taradale.
The couple then attended the 2015 International Children’s Games team sponsors’ function at the National Aquarium of New Zealand.
Friends, families and sup-porters of the eight footballers and four swimmers in the team have been fundraising to get to the 49th International Children’s Games in the Netherlands.
A business breakfast marks an early start for the Governor-General today, followed by visits to the Springhill Addiction Centre, a new organic kitchen at JM Bostock, a historic treaty signing site, and the Hawke’s Bay Independent Brewery and Cider House, the last engagement being the Matarkiki Living Taonga Awards in Hastings.
Photo caption – HONOURED GUEST: The Hawke’s Bay Hospital was re-dedicated yesterday by Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae (centre).