Back prior to the start of Covid lockdowns in 2020, representatives of the Wellington Hospital Chaplaincy Trust, held fund-raising stalls 2 or 3 times a year. The stalls were at the Thorndon Famers’ Market based in the Cathedral carpark in Hill St. The stalls had contributed to raise funds for the Chaplaincy Trust also raised awareness of the invaluable role of the Chaplains who care holistically for the patients and staff at Wellington Hospital.

At the January 2023 WHCT Board meeting it was decided to hold a post-Covid restart of the stall as a trial.  Carole, the trust secretary, liaised with the Market organising committee for a start date of 1st April.

We were delighted that Rosemary, a previous long-standing volunteer, was able to once again help us with her delicious baking supplemented by baked items from other committee members. As she was unable to attend personally, Trust past president Margaret arranged for her friend Patsey to deliver her amazing pickles, jams, and chutneys to the stall.

We gathered early on the Saturday morning to set up, and we were very relieved that the predicted forecast for rain and cool temperatures thankfully did not eventuate – an answer to our prayers.

The Thorndon Farmers’ Market Stall (file photo)

The Trust stall – with its collection of amazing produce, was warmly welcomed back by the organising committee and the public. Overall, it was a very successful outing and our great thanks go to everyone who helped.

We are looking forward to repeating the exercise with a Christmas stall at the market.

The Trust is sad and very reluctant to bid farewell to its founding Treasurer, David Underwood. David has been a pillar of strength for eight years, during which the Trust has solidly supported the work of hospital chaplaincy in Wellington, looking beyond the immediate present to the needs of the future.

David, always enormously considerate, has timed his departure with the end of this financial year. He takes the heartfelt thanks and goodwill of the Trust with him.

With the loss of David, the Trust is relieved and delighted that Gillian Robertson has been persuaded to step into his shoes.

Gillian is an experienced financial planner, bringing with her many years of major involvement in financial affairs. The Trust is indeed fortunate that she has been willing to serve the interest of a continuing hospital chaplaincy.

Gillian’s contact numbers:

Gillian Roberston

25 Weld St


mobile 021 4921 66

The Trust is pleased to welcome the appointment of Mr Les Stephens JP as a Trustee and Board Member. Les has wide-ranging connections to the Wellington community and will contribute a valuable depth of management expertise to plans for the future.

Those “in the know” keep telling us that green shoots are starting to appear in the economy.

For many of us, the shoots, if visible at all, are too frail to have more than a tentative grip on existence. It is therefore with great gratitude that the Trust thanks all those who have so generously contributed to keep the chaplaincy service at Wellington Hospital in existence.

Its open availability to everyone who is part of the life of the hospital – all staff, all patients, all whanau and friends- underscores the part it plays as an essential part of the hospital team, offering support and care in times of critical uncertainty and vulnerability.

Like many other aspects of systems we had (almost) taken for granted, the chaplaincy service is feeling the pinch of the spill-over from the global situation and the Christchurch disaster.

We are all, in one way or another, being affected financially by the increase in insurance premiums and the outcome of the country-wide revaluation of public buildings previously considered earthquake-safe. Many of these decisions, distressing as they are, have wider, more profound ramifications.

For the Trust, a close-to-home case in point is the story of the Porirua chapel, attached to the Mental Health and Forensic Unit. The chaplains, the Revd Kath MacLean and the Revd Noel Tiano were astonished (they thought, at first, it was a joke) very recently to be ordered immediately (that very afternoon, in fact) to evacuate the chapel and the small adjacent complex of office, meeting room and kitchen. The instruction, arising from an adverse expert report on the structure’s earthquake capability, came without warning and, considering the immediate past history of the building, with a disconcerting urgency.

The Unit provides for many people who come from a great distance, often for long-term treatment and who consequently may receive only infrequent visits from whanau and friends.

For them the chapel offers not only an outpost of tranquillity, safety and spiritual help, where cultural art works and familiar colour and shapes convey a special reassurance; it is in constant use, informally and for planned occasions. It is a still point in a disturbing, turning world. For the professional staff of the Unit, it is seen as a healing space in its own right.

Apart from the logistics of the situation: the unsatisfactory space suddenly found for Sunday and other services and the inconvenient storage space for equipment and furniture, the chaplains have been struggling with an extraordinary load.

As Kath and Noel continue their normal service to this vulnerable group, in addition, they in themselves have picked up the part previously played by the physical building – its strength and familiarity and healing.

Fortunately, the original expert assessment has been modified to the point where normality has been restored, with the proviso, however, that the building must be “stickered”. Because essential bracing work (cost, as yet unknown), can’t happen overnight, everyone using the chapel complex must sign a form spelling out their understanding of the risks should an earthquake occur.

The Trust was set up to ensure the continuity and sustainability of chaplaincy services in Wellington Hospitals. Originally, this was seen to be (and remains) an urgent financial requirement; now, however, concepts of “continuity and sustainability” have taken on an added dimension.

Like everyone else in these times, we must take a deep breath to meet in the best way we can, whatever unforeseen needs present themselves.

And so we will, with your help.

Taken from her address to the 2011 AGM of the Trust in November

“No matter what way you look at health services, funding is a major issue and will continue to be an issue. The establishment of the Trust in 2005 was a very sound decision and has provided the Chaplaincy service with a certain level of security but like every other aspect of our rapidly changing world you cannot take your eye off the ball for a moment and I note that the Jim Rowe memorial extension to your Trust is focused on a sustainable service. I wish you well. Your debate on extending your Trusts’ roles to other areas is challenging and I note that research of the work you undertake is also being considered…”

Margaret Falkner (elected member of the District Health Board)


New Steps

From previous WHCT Chair – Margaret Rowe

In 2010 a separate Trust was set up within the original in memory of Jim Rowe, with special provision for donations made to remember him and his commitment to the chaplaincy service at Wellington Hospital.

The Trust’s vision has moved from “weathering the crisis” to “ensuring a sustainable service”. Our present reserves are enough to sustain 12 months of a worst case scenario. Further fundraising is a priority, with the aim of achieving around $20,000 pa to provide continuity into the future.

We have established a website to provide a point of contact for those hundreds of people who value the chaplaincy service but are not linked to church communities.

We are exploring a graduate research project into quantifying the role of chaplaincy as a partner in hospital healing and reconciliation, something intuitively understood but not yet adequately explored.

We also provide tangible community support – and a listening post – to our chaplains, who attend each Board meeting. The Trust also connects with hospital management, in the person of Jen Boryer, Capital and Coast’s manager of community services.

Our commitment

We’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, please continue your generous help to ensure the chaplaincy service at the hospital survives and grows. Board members are very clear that whatever shape the hospital system develops, there will always be vulnerable people within it who will benefit from the quiet support of the chaplaincy service. Please join with us in making sure it’s there, whenever and wherever needed, 24 hours a day.

For downloads of our leaflet and newsletter please click here:

Chaplaincy Newsletter July 2015 (466kb)

Chaplaincy Newsletter June 2014 (270Kb)

Chaplaincy Newsletter Sept 2013 (175Kb)

Chaplaincy Newsletter Oct 2012 (175Kb)

Chaplaincy Newsletter Feb 2012 (918kb)

Chaplaincy Leaflet Sep 2011 (129kb)

Chaplaincy Newsletter Sept 2011 (168kb)