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One of the country's richest sportsmen today handed over $1m of his own money to child cancer.

Steve Williams, caddy to golfing superstar Tiger Woods since 1999, gave the $1m cheque to the Starship Children's Hospital in Auckland.

The money will go towards a new $5m cancer ward at the hospital.

The hospital treats nearly 70 per cent of child cancer patients in the country but hospital authorities say the medical facilities are well below standard.

The hospital says overseas research shows that by getting the physical environment right, survival rates of child cancer patients increase.

Williams donated the cash from his Steve Williams Foundation which traditionally supports junior golf projects.

He said he and his wife Kirsty decided last year they wanted to make a difference in another area.

They spent a day at the hospital last year meeting many families in the cancer ward.

"It was impossible not to get emotional. I couldn't imagine what it would be like to have a child diagnosed with cancer and then have to go through the long treatment process," he said.

As a father, making the donation to the Starship Foundation felt like the right thing to do, he said.