• Harbour Hospice Household Manager Cathie Jack with a morning tea offering from the temporary kitchen at Shea Tce.

Harbour Hospice commercial kitchen in full swing

Just like the kitchen is the heart of the home, it’s also the heart of hospice. It’s where bread is baked, legs of lamb are roasted, fresh fish is fried and every description of cake whipped up – all with care and attention to detail by kitchen staff who join with volunteers to provide bespoke meals every day for patients and their whānau/families.  

With Harbour Hospice’s North Shore facility currently under redevelopment the team has operated out of a temporary kitchen, serving meals created by the cooks at Hospice’s Hibiscus Coast facility. Construction is now in full swing for North Shore’s new full commercial-grade kitchen, and excitement is mounting. 

“The new kitchen will allow staff and volunteers to work seamlessly together,” Harbour Hospice Household Manager, Cathie Jack explains. “There will be dedicated areas for food preparation, cleaning and cooking as well as a walk-in pantry and walk-in fridge, and it will give the cooks every resource they need to create and do what they do best.” 

Meals are approached quite differently at Hospice, Cathie explains. “Enjoying a meal can be more about reliving a special memory than about finishing what’s on your plate, so it's all about the senses - the smells, the tastes, the visual impact; an aroma might take a patient back to happy afternoons spent in their grandmother’s kitchen, the look of a meal to the place where they met their husband or wife. Sometimes it’s about simply holding the food to their lips so they can relish that taste again. Imagine a good old-fashioned apple pie with custard, or the sweetness of pavlova with cream.” 

Harbour Hospice cooks make patients whatever they feel like eating and over the years the requests have varied from tripe to whitebait fritters to oxtail stew to a Sunday roast. One patient recently asked for a simple vegetable soup, and when Cathie produced it with a warmed bread roll to dip in, he was absolutely over the moon.  

“That put a real smile on his face, and that made me feel warm in my heart. It may seem a small thing to do, to cook someone a favourite meal, but for our patients it’s more than a meal, and that’s why we love doing this. It’s a very unique experience.” 

Thanks to an incredibly generous local community, Harbour Hospice has raised $8.9 million of their $10 million fundraising target to date.

To find out how you can help to support the redevelopment of Harbour Hospice’s North Shore facility, including the new kitchen, please email Capital Campaign Manager, Kate Thompson at Kate.Thompson@harbourhospice.org.nz.

For more information on the project, visit harbourhospice.org.nz/shore-project/