Donor’s un­lucky break

The Wellingtonian - - Front Page - RACHEL THOMAS

A rogue snow­boarder could have killed the 81-year-old mil­lion­aire bankrolling Welling­ton’s new chil­dren’s hospi­tal.

Prop­erty de­vel­oper Mark Du­na­jtschik was knocked out cold in the ac­ci­dent on Mt Ruapehu last month, and needed to be flown off the moun­tain to Whanganui Hospi­tal with mul­ti­ple bro­ken bones.

He still has his arm in a sling but is back at work in Welling­ton, and keen to get on with the $50 mil­lion hospi­tal’s cre­ation.

He in­sists that, even had he been killed in the ac­ci­dent, the cheque had been signed and the project would still have gone ahead.

‘‘The irony was, be­fore this ac­ci­dent I was in South Amer­ica for two weeks in Chile and I ski­ied from morn­ing till night and had no prob­lem.

‘‘I came down to Ruapehu and an hour and a quar­ter later, I was knocked out.’’

It served as a re­minder that he was no longer a young man, which was why he was ea­ger to get on with the hospi­tal job.

He said his age fea­tured in early ne­go­ti­a­tions with Cap­i­tal & Coast District Health Board. ‘‘I said, ‘Look guys, I’m now in my 80s and I have a lim­ited time’. They all said: ‘We’re in the busi­ness of keep­ing peo­ple alive, and we’ll keep you alive till the job is fin­ished’.’’

His gen­eros­ity stems from time he spent liv­ing in a home for in­tel­lec­tu­ally dis­abled chil­dren in Ger­many, while he served a tool­maker’s ap­pren­tice­ship.

Welling­ton Botanic Gar­den’s Ali Whit­ton takes a sniff. KEVIN STENT/STUFF PHOTO: ROBERT KITCHIN/STUFF

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