Donor’s unlucky break
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.