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Featured Article Of The Week

Porirua Psychiatric Hospital


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Porirua Psychiatric Hospital was opened in 1887 on 140 acres of rural farmland outside of Wellington, New Zealand. The hospital was constructed as a farm colony for the nearby Mount View Asylum. Fresh air and open land was considered beneficial for patients, and the colony had extensive vegetable gardens, an orchard, and a 6000 gallon water reservoir that were built before the first buildings of the hospital had opened.

The first building, the H-Cottage Ward, was finished on March 11th of 1887. This building would later become a doctors residence, and then as a convalescent ward for women. On May 31st, 1887 Dr Thomas Radford King was appointed medical superintendent of both Wellington and Porirua Asylums.

In 1891, a new central block was built to accommodate 500 new chronic patients. Construction was completed one year later, and the new wards included dormitories for both male and female patients. By 1900, the construction of the original design of the asylum to accommodate 513 patients was almost completed with dormitories, day rooms, and single rooms for the noisy patients provided on both the male and female sides. According to Proirua Hospital Museum and Resource Centre Trust, "there was criticism of the materials used for the building such as the use of unseasoned timber which was shrinking, plaster breaking down, and the use of sea sand in the mortar making it friable." In 1908, the hospital's nursing staff was composed of 30 nurses and 32 attendants. Click here for more...