A new dawn: Starship Foundation’s new home opened under Matariki stars

On a cold winter’s morning, under the Matariki stars, Starship’s new research and innovation centre was officially opened and blessed. 

This was the culmination of a long-held dream and many years of hard work. 

Ngāti Whātua Ōrakei led a moving dawn karakia, starting from outside on Grafton Rd, opposite Starship Hospital. 

Under the dawn sky, the name of this building was unveiled. Whiti Ora means Spring, the planting of new seeds, signifying Starship Foundation’s mission to nurture a nation of healthy children. 

Whiti Ora


This centre is firmly focused on collaboration, innovation and research to benefit children and whānau right across Aotearoa New Zealand. 

Starship Foundation Chairman, Martin Wiseman, says generosity plays a vital role in the eco-system of children’s healthcare and wellbeing the world over.  

“The development of this centre was made possible by a remarkable and generous family bequest, a philanthropic act so visionary, that it will undoubtably make a difference for generations to come.” 

Since December 2016, the Starship Foundation has funded more than $6 million in clinical research projects, conducted by Starship’s skilled clinicians. Some of these include studies looking into respiratory health for tamariki with cerebral palsy, treatment options for clubfoot and developing better understanding about measles. 

Emma Maddren, Starship Director of Medical and Community says the new dedicated space will help build a strong research culture at Starship which will enhance paediatric healthcare in New Zealand.  

“This investment in research creates an environment in which our people are questioning and challenging what they do and seeking to improve patient outcomes, health equity and whānau experience. A flourishing research programme also ensures Starship is able to attract and retain talented people.” 

For Starship, this is much more than a building. It’s been carefully designed to whiria te tangata -  weave the people together – and will be a new home for the Starship Foundation, the clinical research team and a place to foster partnerships and collaboration.  

To embody the intention of the facility, a cultural narrative based on the pīpīwharauroa (shining cuckoo) was gifted to Starship by Dame Rangimārie Naida Glavish. The pīpīwharauroa lays its eggs in the nest of the grey warbler, which then raises the cuckoo’s babies with the same care and attention it would give its own.  

A fitting metaphor for a children’s hospital and this next step towards nurturing a nation of healthy Kiwi kids. 



Jo and Martin


Jo and group