Rannerdale Veterans Hospital and Home was founded around 1920 for the benefit of veterans who had served in the British Forces prior to and during the Boer War of 1899-1902, and to care for those who returned from the Great War of 1914-1918. The original home was located on Papanui Road, in Christchurch (New Zealand), and was purchased by the National Patriotic Board, using money publicly donated to Patriotic Funds during the First World War.
The name "Rannerdale" was taken from the land on which the Home stood. The land, including 50 surrounding acres, was purchased in the early 1850's by an English immigrant named Grant who was the son of the Squire of Rannerdale and who named the land after his father's title. The name survived successive owners of the land and was adopted when the new Home was founded.
Where some 600 Patriotic Funds had been established in the First World War, the Government decided early in World War Two to limit the number of funds to twelve. Eleven of these were provincial and the funds from these were administered and expended by elected local bodies. The twelfth was the National Patriotic Fund.
Additional funds were created during World War Two from profits on the sale of canteen goods to armed forces personnel. Major General W G Stephens, GOC 2NZEF described the collection and distribution of funds thus,
"Regimental funds were derived in part from profits made by the unit on the sale of canteen goods, and in part from donations to the National Patriotic Fund. Standing instructions were that the funds were to be used for improvements to the general welfare of the men".
"At the end of the War, headquarters recommended to units that the balance of their funds should be paid into the Central 2 NZEF Fund, which we thought would go, after the War, to swell a large central fund in New Zealand - as has been the case".
(Taken from "Official History of New Zealand in the Second World War.")
The body set up by the Government after the War to administer this pool of funds was the Patriotic and Canteen Funds Board. In the early 1950's, the Board acquired ownership of four homes around the country through which it could expend the funds in the care of ex-service people. In addition to Rannerdale Home, other homes were in
Auckland (Ranfurly War Veterans Home and Hospital),
Dunedin (Montecillo Veterans Home), and
Levin (Levin Home for War Veterans).
In 1956, Rannerdale Veterans Hospital and Home moved from Papanui to a new purpose built facility on its present site in Hansons Lane. Since that time, the Home has continued to provide care for veterans from all of the major conflicts of the Twentieth Century. The quality of care and the unique service culture of the Home have ensured an almost 100% occupancy rate and a significant waiting list right up to the present time. The New Millennium has, however, brought about changes for the Home. Over the years since the Second World War, the funds available from the Patriotic and Canteen Funds Board have slowly been depleted. In 1999, as the funds finally reached the point of running out, a Strategic Planning Committee of the Board, as a part of a major review of its role now and in the future, decided to allow the four Homes to take control of their own destiny. In Christchurch, the Rannerdale Trust was set up as the legal entity under which the Home would continue to operate.
Following a highly successful fundraising campaign, in 2001 the Rannerdale Trust undertook extensive renovations to the Home, modernising a large portion of the Home and increasing the number of Hospital beds available so as to provide the quality of care required by the ageing veteran population both now and into the future.
In November 2003 the ownership of Rannerdale Veterans Hospital and Home transferred from the Patriotic and Canteen Funds Board to a locally incorporated charitable trust. The Rannerdale Trust established "Rannerdale War Veterans Home Ltd" as a limited liability company, responsible to the trust for the management of the facility. The company is a "not for profit" company.