Our hospital has a rich history. Read about our journey from where it all began in 1929, to where we are today.
It all began with Lewisham Hospital opening on our existing site – which was then an abandoned brickworks. Built by Fletcher Construction on land leased from local Maori, the then Prime Minister, Sir Joseph Ward, and Governor-General, Sir Charles Fergusson, opened the hospital in 1929.
Lewisham Hospital was owned and operated by a Catholic order of nursing sisters, The Little Company of Mary. The order was founded in 1877 by Mother Mary Potter and had hospitals in England, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. At the time Lewisham Hospital was being built at Newtown, there were also Lewisham Hospitals in Sydney and Christchurch, from which many of the nurses for the new hospital in Newtown came.
The featured open verandahs on all floors of the beautiful new hospital quickly fell victim to Wellington’s prevailing northerlies, and were glassed in 1932. A west wing was also added in response to the demand for services at the hospital, and the Williamson family later donated funds for eastwards extension of the original building to provide more rooms and to house a radiotherapy unit. The original 1929 building is still the core of the existing building, extending eastwards from the main entrance.
The name of the hospital was changed to Calvary Hospital in 1953, and Mary Potter Hospice operated at Calvary until 1990.
In 1987 Wellcare Corporation purchased the hospital and renamed it Wellcare Hospital. It was one of several hospitals owned by the company. Later that same year Wellcare Corporation became a casualty of the 1987 stock market crash, and in 1989 a consortium of investors, mostly consisting of local medical specialists, purchased the hospital from the receivers of Wellcare Corporation. It was then renamed Wakefield Hospital.
This transaction also included the voluntary renegotiation of the then perpetual lease of the land from local iwi, represented by the Wellington Tenths Trust.
The new lease was established on a commercial basis, and was one of the first of the old Māori leases to be renegotiated on this basis.
During the continued expansion and upgrading of the facilities at Wakefield Hospital over the next ten years, the freehold of the land was then purchased from the Trust in 1999.
Parent company Wakefield Health Limited changed its name to Acurity Health Group Limited in August 2012. This was done to better reflect its own unique identity as an owner of three private surgical hospitals, and its investment in other health related organisations across the country.
In December 2015, Evolution Healthcare (a privately owned Australian and New Zealand healthcare operator) acquired 100% of Acurity Health Group Ltd (NZ). Find out more about Evolution Healthcare here.
Wakefield Hospital has been continuously upgraded and expanded over the years. Recent building projects were to extend the Theatre Suite to seven theatres (including two digital theatres), providing new change rooms and theatre tearoom, and a major upgrade of the Wakefield Specialist Centre.
Construction is taking place on the full redevelopment of the $130m construction of Wakefield Hospital. This is a further step in the long history of healthcare on this site. The new Wakefield hospital will offer patients from central New Zealand access to some of the most advanced medical services and treatment in the country, showcasing the latest medical technologies.
To see more on our incredible redevelopment project, click here.