Posted by David Gledhill on Nov 16, 2022
Bill Day is a very successful businessman and philanthropist.  Among many achievements he is well known for co-founding Wellington's Life Flight Trust.  He is the Chair of the Wellington Hospitals Foundation which was founded in 2005 as the official charity to support the hospitals operated by the former Capital and Coast District Health Board.  He saw the need for a new Children's hospital as the old one was old fashioned, had no air conditioning, and was difficult for staff and patients, but the DHB and Ministry had no plans to replace it.
 
 In 2016 he suggested to Mark Dunajtschik that together they could make one happen.  Mark was born in Hamburg over 80 years ago and had wanted to be an engineer.  Stretched to afford the fees for an apprenticeship he found accommodation in an IHC hospital and developed an empathy for people with needs.  Hard working, teetotal and non-smoking and very much a hands-on person he became a very successful engineer and, in his fifties became a very very successful property developer and philanthropist.  Mark contributed $50 million towards the cost of a new Children's Hospital.  When the Ministry suggested he give the money to them and they would use their expertise to build it he pointed out that they would take years to make a decision, would spend millions on consultants and would end up way over budget: he would rather do it himself.   After the minister who initially approved the concept was replaced by a new one who was opposed, Mark and Bill pulled many levers until, with the help of Bob English and others they had it approved.
 
Within five years the new hospital was built, with $50M from Mark, $10M from the Foundation, $32M from the DHB, $21M from the government and a great deal of support from the public and other charitable groups, including Rotary.  It was in an old Wellington tradition: the first children's hospital was built on the initiative of the then Mayor's wife, Mrs T M Wilford, in 1912.  Now the hospital is open and operational.  It provides 151 beds and many extra amenities such as offices and rooms for staff, accommodation for parents, seminar rooms, meeting rooms, a picnic area and more.  Fittings and further amenities were provided by a number of charities and individuals.  It was handed over in March 2022 but there is always more that can be done and if you wish to donate the address is https://whf.org.nz/donate-form/.
 
Mark and his long-term partner Dorothy Spotswood are continuing their charitable work and have recently donated $50 million for mental health in the Hutt Valley. Thank you Bill, for an outline history of a very remarkable man and a very worthwhile project.
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