Countdown stores across Waikato raised $86,237 to help keep more whānau together when Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU) is needed at Waikato Hospital.

This year's Countdown Kids Hospital Appeal will allow the Waikids team to buy their wishlist: Two Giraffe Warmers — cradles with two portable monitors which are used for pre-term or late term babies.

These two cradles provide a healing environment with easy access and visibility for parents and staff.

"Waikato Hospital is always incredibly busy," said Waikato DHB's chief executive Dr Kevin Snee.


"NICU in particular was bursting at the seams this winter. These two extra cradles will allow us to keep more whānau together in Waikato when specialist care is needed.

"Thank you to every single person from Countdown for your commitment and support to raise these funds to help our really unwell children and their whānau with lifesaving equipment," he said.

"Every year, we are amazed by the on-going generosity and support shown by the public. And a big thank you also to all those who have been very busy with the knitting needles to keep our Waikids warm and cosy."

There were well over 1000 knitted garments donated from the local Countdown drive, with the Claudelands store taking the title for the most items.

Each year Countdown raises over $1 million nationally and 19 DHBs have benefited from this.

"In the Waikato we have received over $1.4 million over 13 years. This is an incredible amount of money, effort and support by Countdown and I understand all staff go above and beyond to ensure the wish list target is met," said Dr Snee.

Waikato's Countdown Group Manager Andrea Tarrant presented the cheque to the Waikids team.

"I want to recognise how much the Countdown team do in their own time to raise the money for Waikids. It's truly heart warming.


"The theme this year really hit home, one of our own recently needed the NICU. It was really touch and go and through the care from Waikato Hospital they are now doing well."

This is the last time Countdown will be supporting kid's hospitals as they help another deserving children's charity next year.

"Over the years, Countdown's fundraising efforts have delivered a fantastic amount of equipment," Dr Snee said.

"Beds for the inpatient wards and Thames and Southern Rural Hospitals, IV pumps and stands, retinal cameras, ECG machines, wall murals, sensory room equipment, baby scales, vein finders.

It gives you an idea of some of the critical equipment we've received that's helping people across our NICU, Emergency Departments, Taumarunui, Te Kuiti, Tokoroa and Waikato Hospital inpatient children's wards Maternity, Mothercraft unit and Community Child Health Homecare Nursing services."