Lawrence Rural Health Centre
© Mel Foster 2017
Past fundraising projects
Lawrence Rural Health Centre
The first hospital was built in 1862 to attend to miners injured in various accidents including blasting and tunnelling for gold and also frostbite.
In the 1980s a group was formed to see what could be done to improve health services for the district. It was considered the most effective way would be for the community to buy the hospital and contract from the health authorities and provide their own medical service. An act of Parliament was needed requiring considerable lobbying for this to be possible as it was a first for New Zealand. Consequently over the past 25 years the area has had its own medical centre which is controlled by a local trust employing a manager and a doctor. The Lawrence Rural Health Centre also organises district nursing services and run a hospital rest home.
Not long after the district took control of the hospital the community attracted the TV Show Mucking In. The whole community took part in the event over the 48 hour period to revamp the hospital garden. Local contractors provided machinery necessary to reform the area and much of the equipment and garden plants were donated.
Golf club and Gymkhana/event grounds
In the early days land was set aside for sporting and educational purposes. One such area of 150 acres was taken up by the golf club and the other half by the Gymkhana and trotting club in the 1950s, before that it had been virtually wasteland. There was a determination to develop the area into a worthwhile golf course and the other half into a horseracing track.
Both areas have been developed over the years with local farmers provided the machinery including bulldozers and ploughs. The golf clubhouse was very basic in those early days and more recently a decision was made to demolish the old clubhouse and a magnificent new clubhouse has been built and the nine-hole course has been developed to a high standard by club members. Fundraising meant that the building was completed virtually debt free.
The same applies to the racing ground which the community has developed and is used for various community activities including an annual Gymkhana, the Lions Club biannual Farmarama and other sporting events. A rodeo arena was built and has hosted national rodeo finals. A large multi-bay shed has just been built, mainly by volunteers, to house the various sports club assets including the Lions barbecue.
Simpson Park Sporting Complex and Function Centre
Over $350,000 was raised within the community to build a new gymnasium and community facility in the early 1980ss. The farming community donated livestock which was sold and calves were bought and grazed on the farms for some years. There were many fundraising activities which involved the whole community and some large donations which resulted in the complex being completed debt free.
Tuapeka “Splash Out” Aquatic Centre
Extensive fundraising by the community raised a significant financial contribution towards the development of this new first class facility. The fundraising epitomises the spirit of giving and support within the community. A large proportion of farming families committed to a four-year donation cycle and considerable donations from community members and businesses were received.