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Gently does it: Demolishing the Hinepare nurses home

Demolishing a large four-story concrete structure in the midst of a residential neighbourhood poses a few challenges.

Lattey Group was engaged by McMahon Services to provide cranes to assist in the demolition of the Hinepare nurses home on Napier Hill.


This concrete structure has stood above the city since the 1950s. It ceased being used as a nurses hostel when the nearby Napier hospital closed in 1998. It was subsequently used as backpackers accommodation until being deemed an earthquake risk in 2012.


To remove the risk of debris falling onto neighbouring property, the demolition took take place in stages, with some sections being demolished floor-by-floor using small excavators. Lattey Group used its Liebherr LTM1055 to lift these onto the building each morning so the demo team could chip away from the top down. Other parts were pulled down by a high-reach excavator. After the foundations were removed, the site was backfilled.


Throughout the day, bins of rubble would be lifted down and the excavators lifted and moved to different locations. At the end of each day, the excavators would be lifted down for servicing and refuelling. Work finished at 5pm to minimise disturbance for neighbouring residential properties. This process continued for about a month.


About 90 percent of the material in Hinapere - mostly concrete - was recycled. The concrete was crushed for use on other construction projects such as roads, footpaths and driveways.


We then moved to Tuakana, an annex building that was originally part of the same complex. Our scope here was to reach down over a retaining wall and lift out bins full of debris. Traffic management was an important part of the project, as the crane was set up on the road each day and then moved off site each night to allow the road to be re-opened. Alex was the crane operator for the duration of the job and George Douglas was the rigger/dogman.


Hinepare nurses’ home and Tuakana annex site is part of the landbank treaty settlement portfolio of over 900 properties across Aotearoa New Zealand held by Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand (LINZ). These sites on Mataruahou (Hospital Hill) will be now be offered to the Mana Ahuriri Trust as part of its Treaty settlement.

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