The History of Te Hopai


“We are proud of the long tradition Te Hopai has in caring for the Aged”

Lorraine Christie



Created in 1888, Te Hopai Trust is one of New Zealand’s oldest Charities. The Trust was originally formed for the care of elderly people in reduced circumstances who needed assistance from the community to enable them to live in dignity and comfort in their declining years.

Te Hopai was the first home for the aged to be established in Wellington. Following a Grant of land by the Colonial Secretary, the first home was built from funds subscribed by a number of prominent Wellington citizens and opened in 1889.



The original Home is replaced by a new facility.



In 1993 Te Hopai Trust saw a further need for safe care for those residents with memory problems. To cater for this demand the 10-bed secure dementia Kowhai Unit was built.



Expanding further, the 41-bed Te Hopai Hospital wing was built and officially opened in July 1996. This facility combined high level 24 hour medical care with the homely, safe and warm environment Te Hopai has become renowned for.



In 2001 a major redevelopment of Te Hopai was started. This saw the opening of a new 2 storey wing in April that year, and was followed by the staged re-building of the old 1970’s Home, upgrading all 49 rooms, en-suites and public areas.



In 2008 the Board reviewed the operation and strategic direction. As part of a 5 year Development Plan it was decided to replace the old Kowhai Dementia Unit with a larger, more modern leading edge facility offering better public spaces and 16 en-suite rooms. As part of this redevelopment a new administration block and extra Hospital beds were created, with much needed deferred maintenance built in. The result is a light airy welcoming Dementia facility with a new main entrance.



The main dining room and lounge is refurbished to a light elegant space with new furniture and fittings.



In March 2015 the Board opened the Owen St wing. The development of the old car park site off Owen St allowed the creation of a new state of the art kitchen for the whole site, and the building of 46 extra en-suite rooms. Linked by lift and stairs to the Hospital St site, these premium rooms are larger, sunny, and have views over Newtown or the Wellington green belt. All rooms have tasteful built in furniture, wall mounted 23” TV’s and are wireless capable.



Te Hopai is audited and granted a 4 year (48 months) Certification by Ministry of Health. 4 year certifications are rare and this is the second time consecutively that Te Hopai has been accredited. The Audit noted that:

“The service (Te Hopai Home & Hospital) has exceeded the required standard around good practice, infection control management and surveillance, quality management, restraint minimisation, staff orientation and the management of nutritional requirements.”



New accounting software installed for greater efficiency for administration and resident families.

Evaluation and trialling of on-line patient management systems.



New on-line patient management systems introduced that will allow electronic monitoring of all care, transfer of medical records from other providers.

In late 2019 this is extended to include tablet based access by families to daily care and activities for their loved ones.



With Covid-19 came new challenges for Te Hopai.

Tablets used for residents records were now used to enable Skype and Zoom calls to loved ones during lockdowns.

New electronic sign-in system installed.

Hand held temperature checking of all visitors instigated



Continuing our technology upgrades to combat Covid-19, Automatic Body Temperature Scanning installed at both main entrances meaning that all visitors have their temperature checked automatically. Staff are alerted if any temperature is above 37.5 degrees and entrance denied to halt infection at our doors. 

Wander Tracking technology installed to help manage residents who become confused and may be in danger of wandering.

Te Hopai accredited by the Ministry of Health Audit for 4 Years, the fourth consecutive time. Our 4-year accreditation means that we in the top percentile of rest homes in the three DHBs (Wellington, Hutt and Wairarapa).



As with all other Aged Care facilities Te Hopai grappled with COVID-19 protocols, balancing the protection of our vulnerable residents with the needs of families to visit and share in their lives. As Covid cases emerged within our facility we had to limit access to certain wings, or at key points, close an area all together.

Recognising the challenges this caused families and also our staff to manage, we implemented an on line visiting booking system that allowed flexibility and ease of communication, freeing our staff to manage the visits and giving families 'real time' response and surety of their visiting times.

Our Board and Management remain committed to providing full information on social media platforms, our website and through direct contact with families. Our belief in full transparent communication at all times helped residents, families and staff deal with an ever changing health environment.

For our staff digital payroll was implemented to provide ease of sign in and tracking of hours, leave and payroll.

We continued to enhance our digital platform with integrated resident information and clinical notes.



The Te Hopai Trust Board is always looking at how to improve and development of the Home & Hospital whilst maintaining the relaxed homely environment so loved by our residents.

“Setting the Standard in Aged Care” is our constant goal.