Mystery donation a boost for hospital art


2 October 2019


Artwork displayed in Whanganui Hospital's foyer

Artwork displayed in the foyer of Whanganui Hospital.

A mystery $5000 donation has delighted staff at Whanganui Hospital.


The anonymous donation arrived in the form of a cheque last month with instructions that the money should go to the hospital’s Art and Archives Group.


“We are extremely grateful for this generous gift,” said Whanganui District Health Board chief executive Russell Simpson.


“And we will make sure it is put to good use by our Art and Archives Group.”


While the DHB is always working to keep people well in their homes, there are times when people need to come to the hospital and it can be a difficult and daunting experience.  Staff are always looking for ways to make it more friendly and welcoming.


The Art and Archives Group uses art and archival material (including photography and interpretation panels) to improve people’s experience of the hospital. 


“Artwork is carefully chosen for each setting to help humanise the otherwise large and clinical corridors and spaces, anchoring the place in the district and community and to reflect the outside environment.”


Research has found using local art, images of nature, light and potted plants can improve the experience for people in a healthcare situation.


The group recently ran a public photo competition which attracted more than 200 entries, and is preparing a number of submitted images to go on the walls of the corridor that serves the therapy departments. It was also involved in an archival display for Whanganui’s Heritage Month.


Future plans include the development of a “memory hub” in the Assessment, Treatment & Rehabilitation ward displaying 16 black-and-white photographs of Whanganui in the 1920s to 1960s. The hope is these prints will be of interest to patients, family/whānau and staff and may also stimulate memories for patients suffering memory loss.