Hart gives $10m to­wards fa­cil­ity

Otago Daily Times - - DUNEDIN - STAFF RE­PORTER

A $10 MIL­LION do­na­tion to the Univer­sity of Otago by New Zealand’s rich­est man will help the in­sti­tu­tion open a new $28.2 mil­lion den­tal teach­ing fa­cil­ity in South Auck­land.

The univer­sity con­firmed the do­na­tion by busi­ness­man and phi­lan­thropist Graeme Hart and wife Robyn in an an­nounce­ment yesterday.

It rep­re­sented the most sig­nif­i­cant sin­gle do­na­tion in the univer­sity’s al­most 150­year his­tory.

‘‘We are im­mensely grate­ful to Graeme and the Hart fam­ily for their gen­eros­ity,’’ Univer­sity of Otago Foun­da­tion Trust chair­man John Ward said.

‘‘This fund­ing will make a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to the de­vel­op­ment of a new den­tal teach­ing fa­cil­ity, which will not only pro­vide stu­dents with di­verse prac­ti­cal learn­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties but will also pro­vide den­tal care for the lo­cal di­verse com­mu­ni­ties at a highly ac­ces­si­ble cost.’’

Mr Hart, of Auck­land, was awarded an hon­orary doc­tor of com­merce de­gree by the univer­sity late last year, in recognition of his con­tri­bu­tion to the busi­ness sec­tor and phi­lan­thropy in the fields of ed­u­ca­tion and chil­dren’s health.

In a state­ment, Mr Hart said he was ‘‘de­lighted’’ the do­na­tion would help sup­port the univer­sity and South Auck­land com­mu­nity, in­clud­ing meet­ing the needs of lower so­cio­eco­nomic groups.

‘‘We are very pleased that the youth and young chil­dren of this re­gion will ben­e­fit from this fa­cil­ity,’’ he said.

Univer­sity vice­chan­cel­lor Har­lene Hayne said that the univer­sity was ‘‘most ap­pre­cia­tive’’ of the Hart fam­ily’s sup­port, which would pro­vide ‘‘cer­tainty’’ re­gard­ing the de­vel­op­ment of the den­tal teach­ ing fa­cil­ity in Coun­ties Manukau.

‘‘ . . . It will as­sist us in mak­ing a sub­stan­tial pos­i­tive dif­fer­ence to the health­care and wider well­be­ing of res­i­dents of New Zealand’s largest city’’, she said.

Univer­sity of Otago chan­cel­lor Dr Roy­den Somerville QC said Mr Hart’s ‘‘ex­tra­or­di­nary, gen­er­ous gift’’ was a ‘‘ma­jor con­tri­bu­tion to the pro­vi­sion of den­tal health­care’’.

‘‘Their sig­nif­i­cant phil­an­thropic sup­port of the univer­sity will sus­tain the ex­cel­lence in re­search, teach­ing and com­mu­nity outreach that the Univer­sity of Otago is renowned for.’’

The univer­sity an­nounced in Au­gust it would build the den­tal teach­ing fa­cil­ity and treat­ment clinic in South Auck­land.

The $28.2 mil­lion, two­storey, 32­chair build­ing would be built at the Coun­ties Manukau Dis­trict Health Board’s Su­per Clinic site in Great South Rd.

Con­struc­tion was due to be­gin on the site ‘‘in the near fu­ture’’, and the fin­ished fa­cil­ity was ex­pected to be open for busi­ness in 2020.

Graeme Hart

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