An aged care facility which has survived almost 100 years will close due to staff shortages.
St Joseph's Home of Compassion in Upper Hutt has been seriously affected by the nursing shortage, and up until now has been running on "fumes", says its co-chief executive.
"It was difficult before Covid and it's become increasingly unmanageable during and after Covid," Dr Chris Gallavin said.
"We've been on a wing and a prayer and had to beg borrow and steal staff to ensure we can continue to provide the high level of care we're known for."
Usually needing 15 nurses to operate, St Joseph's currently only has 5 – and with some of those 5 now leaving due to burnout, the doors can no longer stay open.
"I have very grave concerns for elder care in Aotearoa, not just here in the Hutt but across New Zealand," he said.
"I am kept up at night thinking we may be the first of many."
Simon Wallace, the chief executive of New Zealand's Aged Care Association, says the closure is a huge loss for the community.
"This is not the first to close, there have been others, but this is a huge care home which has operated for 100 years in a community that really needs it."
He said the Aged Care Association has been working with Te Whatu Ora and St Joseph's to try to get more staff into the home for some time, but this has not come to pass.
"We will not compromise the quality of care. It's left us with no option but to close and that's very unfortunate and sad."
St Joseph's will remain open for the next four months to help its residents and staff with the transition.
The local Needs Assessment and Service Coordination (NASC) organisation will assist in transferring residents into different care arrangements.