Learn the history of Auckland Regional Tissue Bank - Te Ira Kāwai.

Auckland-area patients have donated left-over tissue samples to ethically approved research for decades.

However, there is now a need for a centralised, world-class tissue bank; one that had the approval and support of Auckland area hospitals, the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences and patients/whanau/community.

The Auckland Academic Health Alliance (AAHA) guided planning, development and consolidation, working closely with Auckland-area hospitals and the University of Auckland.

Auckland Regional Tissue Bank - Te Ira Kāwai began to consolidate tissues from other locations and took a major step forward in 2014 when given guardianship of more than 800 tissue samples from the Middlemore Tissue Bank, which was established in 2010 by haematologist Dr Samar Issa with support from the Freemasons Foundation and Leukaemia and Blood Cancer NZ.

Auckland Regional Tissue Bank - Te Ira Kāwai hired a full-time manager, Phillip Shepherd, in 2015.

He conducted several pilot programmes in 2015, and managed the construction of bespoke new tissue bank facilities within the University’s Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences.

These new facilities were blessed on 3 February 2016.

The Maori wording in our name, Te Ira Kāwai, was gifted by Ngati Whatua. The name calls to mind imagery and words that include a strand of DNA, life principles, and whakapapa.

This established our name as Te Ira Kāwai - Auckland Regional Tissue Bank.

In addition, the Middlemore Hospital Tissue Bank, while also part of the - Te Ira Kāwai -Auckland Regional Tissue Bank umbrella, retains its highly valued Māori name Matatika Koiora, which was previously gifted by Tainui.

Matatika makes reference to ethics, the study of principles governing right and wrong conduct – pure, free of immoral behavior or qualities. Koiora is an expression referring to wellbeing and life.

The regional Tissue Bank encompasses facilities at the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, Auckland City and North Shore Hospitals.

From left to right: Dr Samar Issa, Ms Prue Etcheverry and Ms Prem Sharma