Welcome to Manuka Street Hospital

Southern Cross Healthcare Limited

Exceptional care and hospitality

Welcome to Manuka Street Hospital

Manuka Street Hospital is the Nelson Tasman region’s only private specialist surgical hospital.

Manuka Street Hospital is a Joint Venture partnership between a local Nelson Trust, Manuka Street Charitable Trust, and Southern Cross Healthcare Limited. This combination of expertise, local knowledge and history, ensures the people of the Nelson Tasman region are provided with a first class surgical hospital.

We endeavour to provide our skilled surgeons with modern, state-of-the-art theatres and equipment so that Nelson Tasman residents can have access to the very best in surgical procedures.

During your stay at Manuka Street Hospital, we aim to provide you with excellent quality surgical care supported by exceptional nursing care and hospitality services. Throughout your stay, our staff will strive to make your visit pleasant and comfortable.


The Hospital offers a light, spacious and relaxing environment, which blends modern facilities with traditional personal attention. Manuka Street Hospital is certified by the Ministry of Health.

Facilities include three modern operating theatres performing about 3,000 procedures per year.

Our spacious and comfortable in-patient suite has 22 private rooms, all with ensuites. Each room has its own remote control TV with Sky access, a telephone and wifi.

The day-stay unit has six Day Stay comfortable reclining chairs or recovery beds. Refreshments and a telephone are available.

A separate lounge is available for patients and their families, with tea and coffee facilities available at any time.

Our Senior Management Team

Margaret Gibbs

Margaret Gibbs General Manager

Margaret’s health career started a medical laboratory scientist, and she has been a senior Health Service Manager in various settings, including PHOs and pathology laboratories; she has been the Manager at Manuka Street Hospital since 2012. Margaret has a Masters Degree in Health Service Management (with Distinction) and is a member of the Institute of Directors.

Scott Hunter Clinical Nurse Manager – Ward

Scott joined the Manuka Street Hospital team as the Clinical Nurse Manager at the start of 2022.  Scott has brought with him a range of experience and skills from his previous 17 years as a nurse manager and educator in perioperative and resuscitation environments.  He supports a team of very experienced nurses who provide a high-quality nursing service from when a person first arrives at the hospital for their admission, through to their discharge home after surgery.

Karen Tijsen

Karen Tijsen Theatre Manager

Karen was first employed as a Registered Nurse at Manuka Street Hospital in 1992. Before and after that, she worked in Sydney and London where she gained varied experiences in many different nursing areas, and found her niche in theatre/PACU, with a special interest in anaesthetics. After returning to her hometown of Nelson, she was 2 IC of Theatre/PACU for a number of years at MSH, and has been in her current role as Theatre Manager since April 2015.

Clare Clarke Administration Manager

Clare started in our Administration department in August 2015. Clare has a corporate background, working with organisations in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
Clare was appointed the Administration Manager in 2017

Steve Burns Facilities Manager

Steve has extensive experience in running and maintaining large infrastructure.
He started as a Plumber and Gasfitter and comes with many years of experience as a Operations Manager.
Steve has been with the Manuka Street Hospital team since September 2022.

Suzie Tregear Contracts Manager

Suzie is an experienced health sector administrator, having worked for a Health Insurance company in Melbourne before relocating to Nelson to work as a General Practice Administrator for the  Primary Health Organisation.  Suzie commenced her career at Manuka Street Hospital in January 2013 as a Senior Administrator and Personal Assistant and has subsequently been promoted to Contracts Manager in 2022, with responsibilities for contracted elective surgery and affiliated provider contracts with health insurers.

Sarah Hobbs Supply Chain Manager

Sarah joined Manuka Street Hospital in 2021. Sarah trained in London a Registered Nurse and held management positions in secondary care settings in the UK before moving to Nelson, in 2005. While in Nelson Sarah has worked in primary health care, including at the PHO and as a manager of General Practice.

Victoria Davis Catering Manager

Victoria completed training at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology in professional cookery and has worked in cafes and restaurants. She has been one of our chefs since 2012, recently stepping up into a management role in 2020. Victoria has also trained to become a workplace assessor with Service IQ.

Our Nurses

Our nursing staff provide a valuable contribution to your treatment and are selected not only for their clinical ability but also for their friendly and caring manner.


Manuka Street Hospital offers endoscopy, general surgery, gynaecology, orthopaedic, otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat), oral and maxillo-facial, cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery and urology services.

All specialists using our Hospital are credentialed to ensure the validity of their qualifications, experience and skill. Many of the surgeons are recognised nationally as experts in their fields and choose Nelson as a base for its lifestyle options.



Manuka Street Hospital Theatre circa 1910

Photo Courtesy of the Tyree Collection, Nelson Provincial Museum
Manuka Street Hospital Theatre circa 1910

Manuka Street Hospital has been providing surgical services to the Nelson community since the early 1900s and has been on the current site since 1966.

In August 2013, the Trust Hospital entered into a joint venture partnership with Southern Cross Healthcare Limited – and a new entity – Manuka Street Hospital, was formed. The Manuka Street Trust Hospital Board, renamed Manuka Street Charitable Trust, retains a 50% share in the hospital, and this Trust of local businessmen and medical professionals provides philanthropic funding for health-related causes in the Nelson Tasman region.

Southern Cross Healthcare Limited owns a national network of private hospitals, and is in a joint venture relationship with four other private hospitals. Southern Cross Hospitals is owned by Southern Cross Health Trust; they offer a broad range of elective surgery, with a focus on delivering high quality service at an affordable price. Any financial surpluses are reinvested into upgrading and expanding facilities and patient services, and the development of their employees. Southern Cross promises a quality-driven service, aiming to ensure affordable access to healthcare services for New Zealanders.

In the beginning. . .

The story of Manuka Street Hospital is actually the story of two hospitals – Te Rangi Hospital and Manuka Street Trust Hospital. Circa 1904, Te Rangi Hospital was opened by Drs Lucas and Bett; some years later they were joined by Dr Johnston. In those days, and until the end of the second World War, most of the doctors in Nelson were GP Surgeons who looked after all aspects of patients’ minor and major illnesses: they were the GPs, Anaesthetists, Surgeons, Obstetricians, Paediatricians and Psychiatrists.

The Te Rangi site was one house away from the corner of Collingwood and Halifax Streets. It was a combined medical, surgical and obstetric hospital with eight surgical and medical beds and the same number of maternity beds in a separate wing; and an operating theatre and a labour room. The Public Hospital was ‘closed’ in those days i.e. doctors practising in Nelson had no right of work at the Hospital but were occasionally asked to participate in a case by the Medical Superintendent. Therefore the all-round doctor needed a ‘workshop’. The ‘opposition doctors’ to the ‘Firm’ – Drs Gibbs, Jamieson and later Dr Low used Manuka Street Hospital as their workshop. The rivalry between the two groups was intense but they remained personal friends.

Te Rangi Hospital Ltd came into being in August 1941. Drs Bett and Johnston then owned Te Rangi and Miss Colleen Evans owned Manuka Street. They both decided to sell at about the same time. Drs Jamieson, Campbell, Low, Lucas and Stenhouse had no option but to buy the two buildings otherwise they were without a workshop and cut off from all surgery and obstetrics. Each contributed £1000 and raised a mortgage for the rest – Miss Evans was bought out for £5000 and £3800 was paid for Te Rangi.

On their return from war, a number of other doctors joined. Te Rangi Hospital Ltd had two hospitals on its hands – Te Rangi became an obstetric unit and Manuka Street became the medical and surgical hospital. Dr Lucas was the Hospital Secretary and Mrs Low (wife of one of the doctors looked after the staff and paid the wages).

In 1941, Nelson Hospital was still a closed hospital, run by a fulltime Surgeon-superintendent and two house surgeons. Dr Williams, Superintendent of Ngawhatu, helped out with anaesthetics. There were visiting surgeons who were voluntary and received no payment. In 1944 Nelson Public Hospital was ‘opened’. The then Labour Government insisted that all workers should be paid and the Hospital Board was forced to pay doctors a salary for providing services.

The war years were busy. Cholorofom and ether were the anaesthetics of choice. Surgery started at 7am, medical boards for the armed services were held three times a week from 11am to 1pm and then it was surgery, at their own homes until 5pm, then 10-12 call outs, dinner at 7pm, then 3-4 appointments in rooms, bed at 10pm and 3 nights a week confinements and urgent calls, with routine rounds on Saturday morning and Board meetings on Saturday nights.

After World War II

In 1950, two new theatres were added. Sterilisation was by boiling instruments. The historic fireplace on the north wall was always lit during winter, and very cosy; it was noted that a visiting doctor could be peering over the surgeon’s shoulder and warming his behind at the same time.

Also in 1950, a Radiologist who was employed at Nelson Hospital was given leave to have private practice and hired rooms at Manuka Street for 30/- per week (including heating and light). This meant the dual system we have now had been established – an open Public Hospital and private practice.

For some years, Te Rangi, which since 1941 had been a maternity hospital, was a real financial burden as the number of patients was declining each year. The Nelson Hospital Board helped obtain an increased subsidy for Te Rangi but at the same time withdrew all subsidy from Manuka Street. Doctors using Manuka Street paid 5/- per day per patient and the fee to the patient was raised by 1/6 per day but the one shilling and sixpence increase contravened the price control regulations.

In 1953, Te Rangi became a ‘no charge’ hospital and operated on a lease arrangement with Nelson Hospital, which covered all losses. In 1957, the Health Department made suspensory loans available to private hospitals and a diesel hot water and central heating plant were installed.

In 1959, the tennis court section which was behind the west wing (and part of an original six tennis courts operated as a club) was sold to raise money; this was a time of financial difficulties, difficulties obtaining and retaining staff and rapidly rising salaries for the first time. Subsidies were variable but relied on the Hospital making a loss.

The Sixties

In 1965, the lease of Te Rangi to the Hospital Board lapsed and the whole property was put up for sale and was sold to Newman Brothers, who at that time intended to make it their Nelson centre. It was decided that Manuka Street should stand or fall on its own efforts. Difficulties in obtaining staff persisted, partly because Manuka Street was unable to pay Public Hospital rates.

In 1966, the name of the Company was changed to Manuka Street Hospital Limited. In August 1970, two events of future significance took place: Southern Cross Medical Society became active in Nelson, and the idea of a Trust Hospital was formulated after a patient complained about the facilities at the Hospital.

The Seventies and Eighties

The Trust became a reality in June 1973 and it was agreed that the Trust would be self-perpetuating i.e. replacements and additions of Trust members would be appointed by the Trustees, and there should be two doctors and four laymen on the Board. This legacy remains today in Manuka Street Charitable Trust.

In 1975, the Trust launched a public appeal for funds to build the eastern extension. The public fund raising campaign raised $154,000. The by-line was “Give till it makes you feel better”. The Eastern wing was opened in October 1975. It was opened to donors and the public for inspection. In June 1980, new theatres and a recovery unit were added.

In the 80s, the Chair was Mr Dick Potton; financial services were provided by Mr Tony Richards from RWCA. In 1994, a decision was made to appoint a Hospital Manager and Mr Graeme Smith took the position until his retirement in 2012.

As part of the ongoing development of the Manuka Street site, a number of adjoining properties have been acquired for land-banking. The Trust acquired properties on Erin Street, which were used by the Cancer Society as offices, and by Nelson Tasman Region Hospice.

The New Milennium

In 2003-5, upgrades and extensions to Manuka Street Hospital were planned. A decision was made to offer a home to the Hospice; they were leased a portion of land for the front part of the Hospice, and were able to lease the Eastern accommodation block. From 2008, the Hospice has been on-site; the current hospital provides a meal service to Hospice. Also during that period, MSTH extensively upgraded its theatres, PACU, ward, offices and Day Stay.

In 2012, the Theatre Sterilisation Unit was upgraded and in 2013-14 over $1million was invested in new state-of-the-art equipment – operating tables, towers, diathermy machines etc.

In 2017, Manuka Street Hospital underwent major renovations with an extension to its current ward, and an upgrade of the Reception area. The photos on the website demonstrate the new spacious, comfortable surroundings that greet patients when they enter the hospital. Plans are underway to upgrade the theatre suite in the next few years.

Photo Gallery