Newspaper Article – Maternity wing ‘launch pad for young NZers’

Maternity wing ‘launch pad for young New Zealanders’

An $850,000 “launching pad for young New Zealanders” – the new maternity wing at Hastings Memorial Hospital – was officially opened yesterday by the MP for Hastings, Mr Duncan MacIntyre.

That was the phrase used at the ceremony by Mr MacIntyre, who is the Minister of Lands and of Maori Affairs.

Mr MacIntyre said none of the money spent on the unit now or in future would be begrudged because it provided the children, and their mothers, with the necessary care and protection given by modern medicine.

“Our young people are the future of the country,” he told about a one hundred and fifty people attending the outdoor ceremony in front of the new building.

The chairman of the Hawke’s Bay Hospital Board, Sir Edwin Bate introduced Mr MacIntyre and the Mayor of Hastings, Mr R.V. Giorgi.

The dedication was conducted by Rev. D. J. Kidd and the Rev. Father J. Sorohan.

Mr Macintyre said for many babies born in the unit it would be the only time in their lives they would be truly equal, unless there was a radical and progressive improvement in thinking.

“They will be born here, New Zealanders of all races and with no distinction between them, then go out where the subtle process of separate development begins.”

“We have brought all the resources of structural and medical science together to create this maternity unit to give them a good start in life. But a start is usually a long way from the finish and the quality of our health is rarely maintained throughout.”

“Young people today face a world that is harder to adapt to in some ways than the one we grew up in. The problems have multiplied and many of the sign-posts we had are gone.”

He saw the often tragic, and always unnecessary process of separation of races and cultures that occurred when the equality of the maternity ward was left behind, Mr MacIntyre said.

“It is bad for the country, and for all of us, and yet if we put a small fraction of the effort that goes into buildings like this into a continuing programme of building understanding and creating equal opportunities for all the children who leave this building and others like it to grow into New Zealanders, the problem would cease to exist.”

The task that began with the construction of the building should not end with it’s opening, Mr MacIntyre said.

Sir Edwin said the mothers who entered the unit would have the easiest ten days of their lives. Facilities for patients and staff would be vastly improved in the building he said.

Mr Giorgi said that in the past Hastings had battled to establish a hospital. Now the city had the opportunity to “get something back” on Napier.

After the ceremony a memorial plaque was unveiled by Mr MacIntyre, assisted by Sister D. Almond.

Photo caption – The MP for Hastings, Mr Duncan MacIntyre, yesterday opened the new maternity wing at the Hastings Memorial Hospital.  A large crowd saw the event and many mothers-to-be looked on from the large window in the building.

This aerial view of the spreading Hastings Memorial Hospital complex shows the latest addition, the new maternity wing, rising beside the old annexe.

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