Hōhepa Wellington celebrates opening of Spotswood House – video

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Hōhepa Wellington, on July 31 celebrated the opening of Spotswood House, which was donated to them by Dorothy Spotswood and Mark Dunajtschik.

The property was purchased for $1,000,000 and will allow for people with intellectual disabilities to have a home for generations to come.

Sixty-five years ago, the Hōhepa Homes Trust was established. The Wellington group has been part of the family for the last six years, giving a vision of “Every Life fully Lived” to a growing community.

Source: CC/ Sam Hudson

Dorothy welcomed the audience attending on the day with a speech about how Spotswood House became a reality.

“I assisted Hōhepa financially. Mark and I have decided between ourselves that the Hōhepa projects through Kāpiti will be exclusively financed by myself and will be known as the Spotswood Foundation,” she said.

“Hōhepa was encouraged to come up with a medium and long-term plan to establish the operation here in Kāpiti.”

“I am so pleased to say Hōhepa, you have done your homework. They had recently presented to me a ten-year plan which I was really impressed with; the professionalism and their planning. I have looked at so many plans, and I knew this is just what I was looking for.”

Source: CC/ Sam Hudson

Santiago De Marco, General Manager of Hōhepa, addressed the audience and spoke about a vision of “Every Life fully Lived”.

He shared inspiring words from Rudolf Steiner promoting a sense of hope and inclusion: “a healthy social life is found, when in the mirror of each human soul the whole community finds its reflection and when in the community the virtue of each one is living”.

Source: CC/ Sam Hudson

Chair of Hōhepa, Mark Boyle, went through the history of a partnership that has grown to support the initiatives it has endeavoured.

“In our first six years, we have been very fortunate to meet and to have a partnership with Dorothy and with Mark,” he said.

“Initially their generous donation for Te Koha Aroha home — the house that we built here — and now the purchase of the second property adjacent of Spotswood House.”

Source: CC/ Sam Hudson

After the introduction people attending gathered in front of Spotswood House for the big reveal.

All were eager to take a look inside and see for themselves what it had to offer for its residents.

Dorothy unveiled the wooden plaque next to the main door titled Spotswood House and shortly after cut the red ribbon attached to the door — big claps were followed celebrating the official opening.


Attendees were introduced with a sight of the fully furnished living room that has couches, chairs and great sunlight.

The modern kitchen area allows staff or residents staying to cook food and then eat at a provided dining table. A brand new fridge for storage and oven were included.

Cupboards and draws were stocked up with essential utensils that can be used for all sorts of means.

Lastly, a backyard pool came as part of the premises.

Source: CC/ Sam Hudson

Mayor Guru from Kāpiti Coast District Council expressed gratitude for the opening and how much it means to parents of the children.

“I am lost for words in terms of what it means to the parents of the children who are nurtured here. I have not been down that track myself,” he said.

“Talking to them I know that this is a fantastic effort and a fantastic contribution to personal development, safety and of course being human looking after each other.”

Source: CC/ Sam Hudson

Labour MP for Ōhāriu Electorate and Father Greg O'Connor talked about his son Michael staying at the Wellington facility. With great enthusiasm, he was thankful to Mark and Dorothy; Hōhepa, for what they do to support children like his high in complex needs son.

“I am Michael's father — he is a high in complex needs son of mine who is a resident here at Hōhepa. We are the parents of the people who are residents here. We are on the ride wherever they lead us,” he said.


“What we learn as parents of our high and complex needs kids is you have got to fake health. We all want to do it together. I know it is our kids, but we need it for the sake of the rest of our families.”

“When people like Mark and Dorothy come along who have got no direct involvement with the disability industry but do something like this, it is something special, and we all go away from here hopefully a lot better people.”

Source: CC/ Sam Hudson

General Manager De Marco has been involved with Hawke's Bay for twenty-two years and Wellington since its beginning in Kāpiti.

“I am here to celebrate the opening of Spotswood House thanks to the wonderful gift and donation from Mark and Dorothy. After six years of diligent work at Hōhepa as we grow and develop to meet the needs of the people we support and the staff who support them — we are blessed with this wonderful gift.”

“It is not just a gift that is a financial check that is signed for us to be able to fulfil our dreams and aspirations. It is a gift that comes with a real intention of generosity. That's what Mark and Dorothy have done for us is giving us the means to build this home for people with intellectual disabilities.

“The building comes with lots of aroha with an intention to make a difference for the life of people in our community at Hōhepa.

Source: CC/ Sam Hudson


The day ended off with Dorothy and Mark receiving gifts made by the people at Hōhepa. A special weaving piece was wrapped around Dorothy by De Marco, also made by the people at Hōhepa.

Image: CC/ Sam Hudson [Wellington]
Video: SUPPLIED/thisquality

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