Shaun Carlton’s work history includes helping build Hong Kong Airport and disassembling churches in Russia, so you would expect redeveloping two ward blocks at Tokoroa Hospital would be just a walk in the park for the Englishman.
The hospital’s maintenance supervisor will be one of the guests this afternoon (2.30pm) when Health Minister Tony Ryall, visits the South Waikato Health Centre in Tokoroa to see first-hand the refurbishment of wards three and four.
Shaun was actively involved in the project which was finally completed in January 2014, after 10 months of construction.
He oversaw the contractors who worked on the build, and made sure everything went to plan by being on site daily.
“I really enjoyed it. I know the community appreciates what we’ve done here and to be able to show it off to Mr Ryall today is a big plus for me and everyone else involved in the project,” he said.
The wards were unused, but are now home to a medical centre, a family GP practice, a pharmacy, and a wide range of other health services.
The benefits of having health care services in one place are invaluable to the people of Tokoroa, who now have better access to these services.
Even before the South Waikato Health Centre project, a typical day for Shaun may not exist.
Shaun is very much a handy person, and contributes to the day-to-day running of the hospital.
This always involves something different; from water leaks, to power cuts, even rescuing pigeons at times, Shaun and his maintenance team take care of it all.
“It’s like looking after a big house,” says Shaun.
He started in the Tokoroa Hospital maintenance department 11 years ago and loves the small hospital team he works with.
“It’s a great working environment, because of the great people who work here,” Shaun explained.
Working in such a small community has its benefits. If there’s a problem at the hospital such as a leak, Shaun will ring a few people and diggers and plumbers will show up in no time.
“We help them and they help us, it is how it works in Tokoroa.”
Shaun has also developed a passion for remodelling over the years, and mostly on weekends.
One Friday night, he and his team stripped, gutted and painted the hospital cafeteria. They then built a brand new kitchen before finishing at 1am Monday, right before surprising everyone who showed up to work on Monday morning with a new cafe.
His most recent project was re-decorating the hallway of the hospital.
Before moving to New Zealand from Yorkshire, England, Shaun’s work history included helping build Hong Kong Airport and disassembling churches in Russia, only to rebuild them in Japan; a little more interesting than managing Mitre 10 and doing property maintenance which were his first jobs once he arrived in New Zealand.
Shaun has lived in New Zealand for the past 16 years with his Kiwi wife, Lynette. The couple settled down in Tokoroa which he says is one of the friendliest places he’s ever been – which is saying a lot after years of extensive travel.
Shaun loves restoring old American trucks and gardening on his lifestyle block in the South Waikato.
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