Glenorchy has a long tradition of nursing services, starting in the Second World War with a nurse who was provided by the Mines Department of the government to look after the scheelite (tungsten) miners who were so vital during the war. 

After the end of the war Glenorchy gained its own District Nurse in the form of Mrs Gollop (pictured below), and we managed to keep hold of our own nurse for most of the following five decades.

Nurse 2

The past decade however has seen a decline in the level of service provided, despite the community having built medical rooms for a nurse, or other medical staff, to operate from in 1996.

The medical rooms share a building with the museum and library, and are currently used for a weekly nurse clinic which runs for three hours every Wednesday from 10am to 1pm.

The clinic was threatened with disestablishment in 2011 by the Southern PHO and a sub-committee of the GCA fought to try and keep it, with some success, including getting the National Health Board Review Panel to come up and see the facilities and meet some of the patients.

In 2012 the Glenorchy Branch of Rural Women New Zealand took over the liaison role with the PHO and battled to maintain the clinic.  The service was reduced from weekly to fortnightly in 2013 and to monthly for 2014, but the RWNZ Branch sourced local funds (thanks to the Flower Show Committee, the Community Building Committee, RWNZ Glenorchy Branch and Toni Chittock) to maintain a fortnightly clinic for the year.  
The PHO eventually confirmed that no funding will be available for the clinic from 2015.

We are extraordinarily lucky that nurse Debbie Swain-Rewi is continuing visits without any funding at all, simply because she really believes that she is able to make a useful difference in people’s lives by providing medical services here for our community. 
It is sad that our health bureaucracy does not share her commitment to primary health care for rural communities and we hope that the community will continue to support Debbie and make use of her services for as long as she is able to continue.

Also on the positive side, the medical rooms are also used by a chiropractor and a physiotherapist currently and these services – which are independent operators not requiring government funding – are well used.
Glenorchy needs a resident medical professional to make similar use of the facilities and we have no doubt that the community would respond well and support anyone setting up here and offering a medical service.

Article by Kate Scott



Services available:     

  • Wound checks and dressing changes
  • Smoking Cessation 
  • Bloods taken and delivered to the Queenstown Lab*
  • Suture removal
  • Liaison with GP’s, practice nurses or other health care providers
  • Follow-up for and reporting back to GP
  • Advice on health issues
  • Audiometry
  • Spirometry
  • Monitoring of Blood Pressure

Prescriptions, or pre-arranged medical equipment can be brought through from Queenstown on Wednesdays, please call 0274423624 to arrange before 4pm, the day before clinic.

*GP (or hospital) lab form / request needed.  Sputum, urine, faeces etc can also be dropped at the clinic (during clinic hours) to be taken to Queenstown lab. Dr / Lab form/request required.

Debbie Swain-Rewi
BN, RN, PostGrad Diploma Health Sciences, Endorsed Occupational Health and Safety
Occupational Health Nurse Consultant, Specialising in Workplace Health and Safety Trained in Audiometry and Spirometry

This is an unfunded clinic and is facilitated by:

P.O.Box 1036 Queenstown, New Zealand
027 4423 624 or