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An unexpected present

Christmas has arrived early for the team at Wellington Free Ambulance [WFA], who are reeling in delight after receiving a $1 million donation from Sir Peter Jackson and Dame Fran Walsh.

The generous windfall will contribute to the construction of Wairarapa Station, the new purpose-built WFA ambulance station that is set to open in Masterton.

The donation from Sir Peter and Dame Fran takes the funds raised for the station build so far to just over $5.8 million of the $7.5 million that’s needed.

The philanthropic filmmaking duo, who are residents in the region, said they are delighted to help WFA in building its new ambulance station.

“Their tireless efforts ensure that everyone has access to the assistance they need in critical situations,” Dame Fran and Sir Peter said.

“A huge thank you to the paramedics and staff of Wellington Free Ambulance for their dedication and the invaluable support they provide our community.”

“This donation has an impact on each and every member of the Wellington Free Ambulance team,” WFA general manager of fundraising and communications Claire Carruthers said, and they are “united in our gratitude for the support of Sir Peter and Dame Fran”.

“This gift means the community can be assured that their ambulance service will be there in times of need for many generations to come.”

The station’s IL4 rating means it will be designed to withstand a greater level of earthquake shaking than ordinary commercial structures, so it can serve as a community hub in the event of a civil defence emergency.

Currently, the final consent work for the station build is underway with Masterton District Council, the lead contractor has been appointed, and groundwork on the corner of Russell and Queen St site is underway.

Over the summer, foundational work will continue while timelines are finalised.

The station is set to open in late 2024.

Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age, originally hailing from Wellington. She is interested in social issues and writes about the local arts and culture scene.

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