To people throughout New Zealand, Blair Vining was an extraordinary man: a man who turned his own tragedy into a battle to ensure better cancer care for his community.

The Southland Charity Hospital Trust was established in 2019 following Blair’s highly-publicised battle with terminal bowel cancer. After his diagnosis in 2018, Blair was told he had weeks to live, but chronic under-resourcing of the health service in Southland meant he was unlikely to see a specialist before cancer took his life. Blair and his family decided that this needed to change. As a result, he and his wife Melissa worked tirelessly to reform the system and make access to cancer care equitable for all Kiwis.

One of the greatest legacies created because of their work is the formation of the Southland Charity Hospital. The hospital was founded by the community, for the community. Once completed, it will provide free services to those in the southern half of New Zealand who are unable to access care through the public or private health systems.

Who Do We Help?

Initially the hospital will provide colonoscopies to patients from the Southern DHB Zone (which covers Southland and Otago), and will expand the services it provides over time. The Southland Charity Hospital is modelled on the successful Canterbury Charity Hospital, which has helped thousands of patients since its inception in 2007.

The trustees elected to the Southland Charity Hospital Board are:

Dr Murray Pfeiffer (Chair)
Chris Menzies
Neil McAra
Melissa Vining
Janet Copeland
Roger Wandless
Advisor to the Board: Dr Phil Bagshaw

The Southland Charity Hospital will not receive any Government funding. Instead, it will rely on donations, grants, and the generosity of the wider community keen to help southerners in need.

Together, we can make a difference to the health and wellbeing of our community.