A North Island hospital first set up to treat gold miners is celebrating its 150th anniversary, making it one of the oldest operating hospitals in the country.
The Thames Hospital was started in 1868 to look after gold miners hurt on the job.
The miners faced falling rocks, collapsing mine shafts, machinery accidents and falling down holes.
The hospital also treated illnesses common in settler days, including typhoid, tuberculosis and measles.
It was built, furnished and equipped at a cost of 230 pounds, entirely funded by the local community, without government assistance.
Ngāti Maru donated a one-acre block of land, where the hospital is today located.
“It was founded 150 years ago not because the government of the day thought there should be a hospital here – but because members of the community saw the need and got the job done,” Thames mayor Sandra Goudie said.
About 10 years ago, it underwent a major redevelopment and by 2010 new departments and a birthing unit were added.
The hospital is now a major employer in the area with more than 300 staff.
With a growing older population, the hospital makes the area an attractive place for retirement, Ms Goudie said.
The community will celebrate the milestone this weekend with a parade and tours of the building on Saturday and a church service at St George’s Church on Sunday.
A history of the hospital has been collated into a book titled True Tales of Thames Hospital, 150 Years 1868-2018, and is authored by group of people connected with the hospital.
The book was launched last night.