Community, Southland · 7 Apr 2021

‘Gift a Tree’ Campaign Launched To Remember Loved Ones

News Desk

News Desk


There’s almost an irony when talking about honouring memory when it comes to dementia.
But while memory is the very thing slipping away from those living with dementia, it is also a cornerstone of The Hawthorndale Care Village’s new campaign.

Honouring the memory of those who would have so benefited from the village, but couldn’t be here to enjoy it – these people will be celebrated and remembered, with their memory living on in the village by way of the ‘Gift a Tree’ campaign.

Gift a Tree is the last stretch of The Hawthorndale’s fundraising efforts. The work of those behind it is something to be in awe of; during the past 18 months, The Hawthorndale Care Village Charitable Trust has $30.3m million. Now, there’s just $2.7m to go.

The Hawthorndale working group member Paddy O’Brien said the work of the board and its partners had been “quietly relentless” with the majority of the project funded in less than two years.

“It’s an absolutely extraordinary feat, to have most of the Village funded before we’ve even done a concentrated fundraising campaign,” he said.

“Southlanders and people beyond have been so generous and I’m immensely proud to be part of this community that fiercely backs one another.”

Such generosity has been seen in so many ways, and SBS Bank is high on that list. The Hawthorndale Care Village and SBS Bank are joining forces to launch the Gift a Tree campaign.

O’Brien said the Gift a Tree campaign would give people the opportunity to make a donation towards planting a tree in remembrance of loved ones who could not enjoy the village.

The Gift a Tree campaign will allow people to donate at a level they are comfortable with – $100, $200 and $500 donations, he said.

“The money they donate buys a tree for the extensive village gardens. We know it’s not the same as having loved ones back with us, but we hope some comfort might be found in these trees for families experiencing the devastating effects of dementia.”

SBS Group Chief Executive Shaun Drylie said it was a perfect alignment for the 152-year old member-owned Southland organization to be partnering with The Hawthorndale on such an innovative and enduring project.

“Planting a remembrance tree is a wonderful way to help keep special memories of loved ones at the forefront of our minds,” he said.

People wanting to gift a tree to the Hawthorndale village project can donate by going into their local SBS Bank branch or online at

The Hawthorndale Care Village project, to be built on the site of the former Hawthorndale School on Tay Street in Invercargill, is an aged care facility inspired by the world leading Dutch dementia village, De Hogeweyk.

The design of the village and the delivery of care removes the institutional/hospital feel and replaces it with residents living in small groups in houses where the rhythm of everyday living is tailored to each individual resident.

O’Brien said the village will be an outstanding asset for the community, and the support from the community has been exceptional. With more than 90% of project funding secured,

plans to begin construction later this year were firming up, he said.
The project has just $2.7 million left to raise through donations, with $30.3m funding confirmed for the $33m development to date.

The project represented an opportunity to redefine aged care in New Zealand, starting in Southland, O’Brien said.

“By donating now, you can be part of the legacy to give elderly people in need of care, and those living with dementia, freedom, a sense of purpose and better health and wellbeing outcomes,” he said.