About Us

RMHC New Zealand gives families with a hospitalised child what they need most — each other.

RMHC® New Zealand supports families when their child is in a New Zealand hospital away from home.

We take care of the practical things in life so families can focus on their child staying in a hospital away from home.

Every year we offer 3,700 families across New Zealand accommodation and support free of charge. This helps to relieve stresses like paying for a place to sleep near the hospital, cooking family meals and needing a friendly ear to listen on tough days.

For a child going through treatment, sometimes the best kind of medicine is having family at their side for hugs, kisses and aroha. The support from RMHC New Zealand helps families cope better and focus on the needs of their child.

We are part of a global network which is now over 40 years old and RMHC has Houses operating in over 40 countries.

Our History

Ronald McDonald House Charities was born out of the unlikely partnership of Dr Audrey Evans, an oncologist at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, McDonald’s and the American Football team, the Philadelphia Eagles.

It all began in Philadelphia in 1974 when three-year-old Kim Hill, the daughter of Philadelphia Eagles football player Fred Hill and his wife, Fran, was being treated for leukemia at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children.

During Kim’s three years of treatment, the Hills often camped out on hospital chairs and benches and ate makeshift meals out of vending machines, while they watched other parents doing the same thing. They learned that many of the families travelled great distances to bring their children to the medical facility but couldn’t afford hotel rooms.

The Hills knew that there had to be a solution. Fred rallied the support of his Eagles teammates to raise funds. Through Jim Murray, the Eagles’ general manager, the team offered its support to Dr. Audrey Evans, head of the pediatric oncology unit at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Evans dreamed of a comfortable temporary residence for families of children being treated at her hospital.

Murray enlisted Don Tuckerman from the local McDonald’s advertising agency, who with the support of McDonald’s Regional Manager Ed Rensi, launched the St. Patrick’s Day Green Milkshake (now known as the Shamrock Shake) promotion. Funds raised went toward purchasing an old house located near the hospital.

And thus on 15 October 1974, the first Ronald McDonald House opened its doors. Today, more than 250 Ronald McDonald Houses in over 50 regions and countries support families around the world – providing comfort to more than 10 million families.

In New Zealand, Ronald McDonald House Charities was established as an independent charity in 1989. Since we opened that first Ronald McDonald House, we’ve been working continually to make sure we’re there to help when seriously ill children and their families need us most. We thank all of our supporters, both big and small, who have helped us to keep families together in the years since.

Our relationship with McDonald’s

RMHC Founding Mission Partner since 1974

From the moment the first Ronald McDonald House was opened in Philadelphia, PA, the entire McDonald’s system has helped us support families with children in hospital by providing stability and vital resources.

McDonald’s franchisees, crew and customers collectively raise over $1.5 million for RMHC New Zealand each year. Their support extends from monetary contributions and volunteerism, to cause-related marketing promotions and the space to place RMHC New Zealand Donation Boxes that raise money for our Houses around the country.

However, the financial contribution is only one part of this proud partnership. What cements this partnership is the many volunteer hours donated by franchisees and crew – whether it is organising a fundraising event, collecting for a street appeal or rallying the community to raise funds for a new programme – helping RMHC New Zealand positively impact millions of children and their families.

Although the McDonald’s system is our largest corporate partner, RMHC New Zealand is an independent charity. RMHC New Zealand relies on the support of the entire community and greatly value the generous donations from the community and other corporate partners.

Our Mission

RMHC New Zealand programmes give families the support they need while their child is in a hospital away from home. Our national network of Ronald McDonald House®, Ronald McDonald Family Room®, Ronald McDonald Care Mobile® and Ronald McDonald Family Retreat programmes make a positive difference to the health and well-being of children and their families.

Our Vision

RMHC New Zealand supports the families of a hospitalised child during difficult times. We are working towards a time when every family whose child is in a hospital away from home will be welcomed and supported by a RMHC programme wherever they are in New Zealand.

With Special Thanks to