The Labyrinth at Hutt Hospital

The labyrinth identifies Hutt Hospital as caring for each individual’s well being. By hosting the labyrinth we, the Hutt Valley District Health Board, recognises that there is a need for a holistic approach to healing, and that people also want to address their spiritual and psychosocial needs. The labyrinth offers the hospital a broader range of possibilities.

The Fredric and Margaret Wallis Labyrinth is also a public installation that is now a part of the Hutt City Council E-Tu Awakairangi Public Art Trust. In this way it brings people into contact with, and enhances their appreciation of, Hutt Hospital. It also demonstrates the spirit of cooperation and mutual support that exits between the City Council and the District Health Board.

People using the labyrinth as a community asset before they experience any future hospitalisation or loss of a family member may later find such experiences less impacting through their familiarity with the hospital precinct and their experiences on the labyrinth in happier times. Families already enjoy summer picnics beneath the trees in the precinct and seating is provided in strategic locations around the labyrinth so as to intrude as little as possible with those walking the labyrinth.

The labyrinth is an educational facility that has already drawn in school groups. Children and young people, whose appreciation and understanding of it will broaden as they mature, enjoy the treasury of discovery that it offers them. This has the potential to stretch over a lifetime with their understanding, appreciation and experience maturing as they do. Almost all school curriculum areas can be linked to an aspect of the labyrinth and the experience of walking it.

The labyrinth is cost-effective. It was a gift to the community when the property at the former Fredric Wallis House site was sold to a developer. Its relocation was entirely funded by community and Trust donations. It is now hosted by the Hutt Valley District Health Board [DHB] who will ensure its ongoing upkeep. In looking after the labyrinth the DHB does not incur additional costs such as staffing – the labyrinth has become part of the core infrastructure for which the DHB has responsibility. But, for any additional work such as publicity or special events, the labyrinth will always be dependent on the good will and financial support of the community that it serves.