Image: Patients being transferred soon after Kidz First was opened.
Since its inception in 1999, The Middlemore Foundation has built a proud history of recognising and supporting the needs of the people of Counties Manukau.
Pam Tregonning, who originally headed up the charitable foundation, says it was first established with a single goal in mind – funding a children’s hospital in South Auckland.
"At the time, whaanau were travelling a considerable distance – and at great expense, to Starship Hospital for Paediatric care," Pam says.
In her time as CEO, Pam says the foundation raised a staggering $40 million in donations. These funds were invested in key projects – namely the development of the Ko Awatea Centre, Mobile Dental Vans to support community dental needs, the Neonatal unit, upgrades to the Emergency Department, and of course, Kidz First.
The opportunity to take on the inaugural CEO role of what was initially known as South Auckland Health Foundation came as a surprise to Pam, who says she had never done anything like it before.
"I did have a background in public health, a strong desire to help my community, and I'm good at talking – so thought – why not!
"I started the role with an empty room on hospital grounds, a phone and a laptop – so I'm really proud of how far the foundation has come since then.”
Key fundraising initiatives such as the very popular and well supported 'Jammies in June' continue today.
"We've established relationships with a significant number of donors, many of whom regularly continue to support the foundation's great work."
The CEO baton has since been passed to Margi Mellsop, who says she is proud to continue the Foundations 23-year legacy of the supporting Middlemore Hospital and the community it serves.
"Recently, we have been delivering hygiene packs to whaanau isolating during the omicron outbreak.
"We have just launched a long-term community initiative Ngaa Tai Tini, developed with Manurewa Marae and Manurewa High School to support Manurewa whaanau realise their dreams for the future.
“Where there is a need – you’ll find us.”