Saving & Improving Lives

Better outcomes for our children

Together we help Starship keep pace with the latest technology and treatments, and attract and retain the best and brightest staff. So our children are given the best chance to get back to living life.

Saving and Extending Lives hero

As a children's hospital, one of Starship's most vital roles is to save and improve the lives of children from all over New Zealand who are seriously ill or injured.

In 2020, supporters like you helped Starship fund equipment and projects to help provide this lifesaving care for our children.

In 2020, this included purchasing Aeronox machines for our Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). These machines deliver a precise mix of nitric oxide and oxygen, helping infants and children with breathing problems absorb more oxygen into their bloodstream. This reduces the risk of permanent brain damage.

8 new Aeronox machines purchased for use in PICU and NICU, ensuring a projected 2,100 PICU and NICU children in 2021 have precise breathing support if they need it.

At the end of 2020, PICU's Aeronox machines had been approved for flight use, with NICU machines soon to follow. That means they're now in use on air retrieval missions around the country, providing life-saving breathing support for children and babies whose lives are in the balance.

With your help, the Starship Foundation helped fund the Starship National Air Ambulance through 2020. Despite the COVID-19 lockdown the service flew from Auckland to Kaitaia, Invercargill and most places in between, connecting critically ill children across New Zealand with PICU, our national children's intensive care unit.

The Starship National Air Ambulance service retrieved a child every 2.5 days in 2020, from destinations all over New Zealand.

Your support also helped Starship purchase a new dermatological laser that's more effective and less painful than older models. Already, it has helped us address a long wait list. Thanks to you, we can greatly reduce obvious facial markings on children and teens during their formative years. That gives them more confidence, helping them develop social skills and relationships.

During 2020 the Clinical Pathways and Outcomes Project you helped fund started identifying where our healthcare can be improved to address inequities as we strive towards better outcomes for all New Zealand children.

Already this project has overhauled the way cellulitis skin infection is treated at Starship.
The changes mean more community care, less hospitalisations, and a more effective and efficient treatment pathway for the more at risk Mäori and Pacific children.

Thank you for helping US fund projects and equipment to give our children better health and brighter futures in 2020 and beyond.

40% decrease in hospital bed-days due to cellulitis



Putting a smile back on Rangitahi's face

RANGITAHI, AGE 6 OPOTIKI Thanks to modern laser treatment, Rangitahi's confidence is growing.

Giving children a life-changing boost

In August 2020, donors like you helped the Starship Foundation fund a dermatology laser for children with obvious facial markings like Port Wine Stains.

Port-Wine Stains affect more than 500 New Zealand children. Often, marks like these get darker and thicker with age.

Opotiki six-year-old Rangitahi was born with port wine stains on the right side of her face, extending down her neck.

Mum Tiffany says, "..she was three years old when other kids started commenting on it."

Many of those comments were innocent curiosity. Some of them weren't. Either way, it made Rangitahi very withdrawn and hesitant around other kids.

Many children suffering from visible facial markings become increasingly withdrawn as they grow older. When they become teenagers, their confidence often plummets.

That's why Tiffany and stepdad Evan were thrilled to hear we could offer Rangitahi modern laser treatment thanks to supporters like you.

After a few treatments, Rangitahi's birth mark has faded and her confidence has grown considerably.

"She's much more confident playing with other kids. We're really happy she's had this opportunity", says Tiffany.

Thank you for giving children like Rangitahi the chance to socialise confidently with other kids, and build vital social and life skills. With your help, more than forty children will have started modern laser treatment at Starship by the end of 2021.


"Children with highly visible facial markings are often very self-conscious. Early laser treatment can make a huge difference to their mental health and psychosocial development as they grow up."

Dr. Diana Purvis, Starship Paediatric Dermatologist

"Thank you for giving Rangitahi the chance for this treatment. It's making such a huge difference to her confidence."

Rangitahi's Mum Tiffany




Dr Jin Russell is looking for answers that can help all New Zealand children

Dr Jin Russell and Oscar
OSCAR, AGE 4, AUCKLAND | Dr. Jin Russell's research aims to ensure kids like Oscar receive the care and support they deserve.

Better outcomes for our children

Dr Jin Russell's dream is that every child growing up in Aotearoa New Zealand can reach their highest potential no matter what their starting point, or what challenges they might face.

She's a Developmental Paediatrician looking after children with behavioural and developmental difficulties, children like four year old Oscar Smyth.

She's the recipient of a Starship Foundation fellowship, one of a handful awarded by the Foundation every year that enable some of our best and brightest doctors to specialise in their chosen field right here in New Zealand including time to look into research questions.

Dr Russell is analysing data from the Growing Up in New Zealand longitudinal study to better understand how our children are doing as they reach school age.

"We know that children who have developmental difficulties might have a harder time with their education. So I want to find out if there are other children in the community having developmental difficulties that we're not seeing in hospital," explains Jin.

So not only does she directly support children like Oscar every day, her research will ultimately help ensure children across New Zealand with learning challenges are identified and supported to meet their full potential.

"Oscar is a joy bringer to our family and to everyone that comes into contact with him. Having the support of Starship, Jin and the team means we've got the best people looking out for Oscar's future."

Pip, Oscar's mum

Jin has this message of thanks; "To everybody who supports the Starship Foundation, from the bottom of my heart, I just want to say thank you SO much. Your support is enabling me to understand how we, as a society, can support children to meet their full developmental potential."

Dr. Jin Russell, Starship Foundation Fellowship recipient



You can find out more about your impact at the links below or read the complete 2020 Starship Foundation Impact Report [PDF].


Previous Starship Foundation Impact Reports can be found here.