The Rainbow Children's Trust makes a big donation to children's health

Rebecca Tamati, with her daughter, Dior, 5, who spent a long time in hospital.
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/ FAIRFAX NZ

Rebecca Tamati, with her daughter, Dior, 5, who spent a long time in hospital.

A new playground, family rooms and a teen hang-out space are all in store for the new children's facilities at Christchurch Hospital after a major new charity received a $1.2 million donation. 

The Maia Health Foundation received the gift from Rainbow Children's Trust at the charity's official launch on Wednesday evening. 

Dior Tamati, 5, spent five weeks in the children's ward earlier this year after mum Rebecca Tamati became concerned Dior's flu symptoms had worsened and she struggled to move her neck and left arm.

Michael Flatman, chief executive of the Maia Health Foundation
SUPPLIED

Michael Flatman, chief executive of the Maia Health Foundation

Dior was diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis, a neurological disorder caused by inflammation of the spinal cord which can cause partial or complete paralysis. 

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Tamati said the "awesome" team at Christchurch hospital became "like whanau" over the next five weeks but the ward's facilities left a lot to be desired.

Artist's impression of rooftop helipad planned for the new Christchurch Hospital. The Maia Foundation hopes to raise ...
SUPPLIED

Artist's impression of rooftop helipad planned for the new Christchurch Hospital. The Maia Foundation hopes to raise enough money to expand the helipad so it can hold two helicopters.

"There was almost nowhere to go apart from her bedroom. The play room would only be open on weekdays and only for a certain amount of hours and that was it."

"For a little girl who is usually so active it was really hard being stuck in one room all day.

"Having a playground would have completely changed our experience.

"All the necessities were there but extra things like a playground or family room are actually really important for rehabilitation."​

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Chair of the Rainbow Children's Trust Lee Robinson said the $1.2 million was being used for its intended purpose. 

"We believe strongly that all children should have access to the best possible healthcare. Our children deserve nothing less."

Maia chief executive Michael Flatman​ said the improvements would include a playground, parent beds, activity rooms, family rooms, and other spaces.

Endorsed by cricketer Brendon McCullum​, singer Bic Runga and inspirational young cancer survivor Jake Bailey, the Maia Health Foundation promised to enhance health care across a number of areas.  

It will fundraise and administer donations for health projects, becoming somewhat like Canterbury's version of the Starship Foundation.

It was established by the Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB), but will function independently with an arm's length board chaired by Garth Galloway.

It will also give people a charitable, tax-deductible avenue to make donations to the health system. Healthcare providers, not just the CDHB, will be able to apply for funding from the foundation.

"Maia's work is going to quickly make a noticeable difference in some key areas, as well as preparing for future generations," said Flatman

Plans for the new hospital already included a single helipad but the foundation hopes it can fund a $2 million expansion to allow two choppers on the roof, alongside four rooftop beds where patients can be treated as soon as they land, or while they await transfer. 

The revised plans reflected a 40 per cent leap in the use of transfer and rescue helicopters in the last three years, with 800 helicopter landings last year at the hospital's Hagley Park site.

"We are committed to raising $5.2 million in our first two and a half years in support of these important projects for Christchurch Hospital's new building," said Flatman.

"We are all about taking the health system from good to great." 

 - Stuff

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