Starship's History

Key milestones

  • 1991: Starship was opened on 18 November 1991. It was New Zealand's first hospital built exclusively for children and young people and their health needs. The name Starship was chosen because of the design of the building which was created to appeal to children and young people. Starship is built around a central atrium.

  • 1991: ASB starts supporting Starship - the first corporate to do so, and a role they continue to play today as a Starship Foundation Five Star Partner.

  • 1992: The Starship Foundation was formed in 1992 when a group of key people including Sir Bob Harvey, Dr John Newman, Sir Ralph Norris, Bryan Mogridge and Dame Rose Horton recognised quickly that a Foundation could help address funding shortfalls, as was seen in American Hospitals.   Sir Ralph became the first Chairman of the Starship Foundation's Board of Trustees.

  • 1992: The Friends of Starship (a group of active volunteer fundraisers for Starship) was established concurrently to the Foundation in 1992 with Dame Rosie Horton as chair.

  • 1993: The introduction of life-support ECMO equipment (Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) allows Starship Intensive Care to save lives

  • 1994: In 1994 the early beginnings of transport of sick and injured children to PICU progressed to include an air service to retrieve patients from around New Zealand.

  • 1995: Bryan Mogridge succeeds Ralph Norris as Chairman of the Starship Foundation Board of Trustees.

  • 1999: Mercury made its first donation to Starship Foundation in 1999 and became a 5-star partner in 2001.

  • 2000: Previously treated at Auckland Hospital a combined neurology and neurosurgery ward was opened on level six at Starship catering for a growing demand for paediatric neurosurgery.

  • 2000: The newly established New Zealand Liver Transplant Unit at Auckland Hospital performed its first liver transplant on a child. (Previously any New Zealand child requiring liver transplant was usually sent to Brisbane).

  • 2003: Starship expanded when the Paediatric and Congenital Cardiac Service (PCCS) relocated from Greenlane Hospital. At this time building work was undertaken resulting in one new ward, a new Emergency Department, a new Intensive Care Unit, two additional Operating Theatres and a new Radiology Department that included a Cardiac Investigations Room (CIR). Since then a CT scanner and MRI have also been built within the Radiology Department.

  • 2003: Barfoot & Thompson commenced its partnership with Starship Foundation in 2003 and became a 5-Star Partner in 2004.

  • 2004: The Greenlane Clinical Centre was established in 2004 and Starship began providing some services at this location. These now include the Paediatric Diabetes and Endocrine Service, Family Options, Community Child Health and Disability Services, some Outpatient clinics and Audiology.

  • 2009: A multi-million dollar re-build of the Starship Oncology & Haematology Ward marks a new era in children's cancer treatment in New Zealand - offering comprehensive care and facilities that address not only the medical needs, but the social, psychological and emotional needs of the patients. The $6 million refit was made possible through funds coordinated by the Starship Foundation, including a $1 million donation from Starship supporter and golf caddy Steve Williams.

  • 2010: The Starship Radiology MRI Service launched thanks to a generous $3 million donation from Sir Graeme and Lady Ngaire Douglas. It was the largest ever personal donation to the national children's hospital.

  • 2011: SKY TV became a supporting sponsor of the Starship Foundation in 2011 and became a 5-Star Partner in 2015.

  • 2013: Starship Children's Health gets new and improved Neuroservices and Medical Specialties Wards on level 6 with the opening of two completely refurbished wards marking a new era for the treatment of New Zealand children with a wide range of complex illnesses and injuries.

  • 2014: New World came on board as a 5-Star partner with Starship Foundation in 2014.

  • 2014: Starship Level 4 which houses Orthopaedics and General Surgery was refreshed with new wall murals and décor in 2014.

  • 2015: A new Starship National Air Ambulance plane was revealed - a King Air 350 turbo prop that is faster and quieter than the previous plane.  Year-round, day and night, the Starship National Air Ambulance brings children from all over New Zealand to Starship for life-saving care.

  • 2015: In July 2015, following a $9 million upgrade, the new operating rooms and surgical facilities at Starship Children's Hospital were officially opened.

  • 2016: Starship celebrates 25 years!

  • 2017 and beyond: Looking ahead plans for Starship improvements include a refurbishment of Daystay and the central Atrium. At the same time research, innovation and training will be continuing areas of focus. 

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