Hospital’s ‘place of peace’ is 50 years old


The plaque marking the official opening on June 13, 1970.


24 June 2020


“A place of peace for people of all faiths”, Whanganui Hospital chapel was 50 years old this month.



Whanganui is one of the few provincial hospitals with a stand-alone chapel, which was officially dedicated on June 13, 1970.



The idea to build a chapel arose at the first Nurses Reunion in Whanganui in 1958 when a Mrs Bennett gave 25 pounds to start a fund. Fundraising begun in earnest in 1964 and the chapel was erected between the clinical services block and the proposed ward and administration block.



It was soon evident that the chapel was too small and fundraising began again in 1985. The Whanganui community raised $96,000, allowing the chapel to be extended toward the hospital entrance, and it was re-dedicated in 1987.



The chapel is non-denominational and its ecumenical chaplain Amail Habib describes it as “a place for all people where they can spend some time with God.

Ecumenical chaplain Amail Habib



“Some people want to spend time with the guy upstairs, some people just sit and relax. When they are stressed and feeling low, they can find peace – spiritual, emotional and mental peace.”



The hospital also has a Roman Catholic chaplain in Norma O’Connor.


Due to the COVID-19 virus, planned 50th anniversary celebrations have been postponed till springtime when a re-dedication and thanksgiving service will be held.