Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


Insight into Growing up in Hawke’s Bay Children’s Homes

Media Release
An Insight into Growing up in Hawke’s Bay Children’s Homes

The often harrowing and sometimes heartening stories of fourteen people who grew up in children’s homes in Hawke’s Bay are told in a book to be launched on the EIT campus.

An internationally-recognised academic historian of education and a research professor at EIT, author Kay Morris Matthews says Who Cared? Childhoods within Hawke’s Bay Children’s Homes and Orphanages 1892-1988 is a snapshot of the experiences of thousands of youngsters – orphaned, illegitimate, abandoned or destitute – who lived part or all of their childhoods in eight institutions that operated in the region.

The book will be launched on November 22 by John McKinnon, a Hastings resident who grew up in France House, a home in the Esk Valley for teenage boys. Others whose accounts are included in the book, many now very elderly, will also attend the launch.

The first to analyse New Zealand childhoods spent in institutions, Dr Morris Matthews says most people have forgotten or have never known about these atypical upbringings. Many are surprised that the last such home in Hawke’s Bay closed as recently as 24 years ago.

Dr Morris Matthews accessed publicly available information on Hawke’s Bay children’s homes while researching archival material for upcoming museum exhibitions. More generally, institutional archives are embargoed to protect the privacy of those raised in these homes.

Recognising the need to document this important chapter in New Zealand history, Dr Morris Matthews delved into school and government records and, with the help of family and friends, sought out people who had experienced institutional childhoods at first-hand.

All those approached agreed to being interviewed and, given the opportunity to read what had been written, to having their stories published under their names and identifying the institution in which they had lived.

“It was quite an experience interviewing these people,” Dr Morris Matthews says. “I told them I did not want to upset them or to explore anything they did not want to recall but that they were the last of the children to grow up in such homes and that their stories would otherwise be lost.”

There were many raw emotional moments in speaking of their experiences. Some were aggrieved, describing institutions where the culture was tough and there was little ‘caring’ and predictable daily routines included large doses of religion.

Most children were only three or four years old when admitted, and they suffered long-term effects of emotional abuse that included adult sarcasm and being ‘put in the hole’ – a dark cupboard under the stairs – for hours at a time.

A more positive theme was of youngsters who developed self-reliance and resilience at an early age.

“For some, the children they grew up with remained ‘like family’ all their lives, and their networks and friendships remain strong.”

In providing historical context for the development of children’s homes, Dr Morris Matthews outlines the efforts of the Queen’s Fund Committee, an organisation comprising local women who challenged decisions made by the all-male Hawke’s Bay Charitable Aids Board to ensure better support for families struggling under difficult circumstances.


The efforts of Amelia Randall are a particular highlight. This widow – a niece of Napier entrepreneur Henry Tiffen and a highly capable businesswoman in her own right – helped found the first Hawke’s Bay children’s home in 1892 and left a substantial bequest to continue her charitable work.

“If Hawke’s Bay in general has not heard of her,” Dr Morris Matthews says, “I feel this book has put her back on the map.”

Priced at $30, Who Cares? Childhoods within Hawke’s Bay Children’s Homes and Orphanages 1892-1988 was designed and printed by EIT Reprographics and is distributed by Otatara Bookshop

Hawke’s Bay Children’s Homes and Orphanages
• Bethany Receiving Home (1896-1978), Napier
• St Mary’s Receiving Home (1915-40), Napier
• St Hilda’s Orphanage (1918-1958), Otane
• Abbotsford Home (1926-61), Waipawa
• The Hawke’s Bay Children’s Home – Randall House and Gordon House ((1892-1966), Napier
• France House (1924-73), Eskdale
• Hillsbrook Children’s Home (1947-1988), Havelock North


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

The Future Of Work: Andrew Little - State Of The Nation 2015

In 2005 when I led the EPMU we worked together with Air New Zealand to find a way to keep engineering jobs that were heading overseas. A lot of these workers were people I’d known for years and they were facing not just losing their jobs but not being able to find the kind of work they do without going overseas. A lot of people were facing personal and financial upheaval.

It was hard work but in the end we kept more than 300 skilled and well-paid jobs in New Zealand. And we managed to benefit Air New Zealand and its workforce with productivity gains too... More>>

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Sabin Case, The Pressures On Greece And (Songs About) Coyotes

Mike Sabin is a National MP, and the current chairman of Parliament’s law and order committee. Yet reportedly, he is being investigated by the Police over an assault complaint... However, the PM will not comment on any aspect of the story. More>>

ALSO:

Houses, ISIS, King (& Catton): PM Post-Cabinet Press Conference

The Prime Minister met with reporters to discuss: • Social housing, the Auckland housing market • The prospect of joining international forces to combat ISIS • David Bain’s compensation • The lowering of the flag for the King of Saudi Arabia's death ... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Tomorrow’s Speeches By John Key And Andrew Little

The Key government has already kicked off the political year on a stridently ideological note, with Environment Minister Nick Smith choosing to lay all manner of sins at the door of the RMA. Tomorrow, the government will wheeling out its best salesman – Prime Minister John Key – to sell its plans for state housing… . More>>

ALSO:

Transport: Auckland Looks To Light Rail

The Board of Auckland Transport has called for an investigation into a light rail network, which could relieve traffic congestion on some of the region’s busiest roads. This stems from work in 2012 (the City Centre Future Access study) which responded to a government request to develop a robust and achievable solution for access to the CBD. More>>

ALSO:

RMA: Smith's Claims Don't Match Evidence - Greens

The Motu group’s research into the impacts of planning rules looked at the costs related to housing development but not the benefits of environmental protections and does not recommend significant changes to the RMA to reduce the cost of new house builds. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Similarities Between John Key And David Cameron

For years now, David Cameron has been the closest available thing to a mentor/analogue to our Prime Minister, such that Key watchers could be interested in an analysis of Cameron that appeared in the British press over the Christmas break. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Ian Fletcher Resignation & GCSB’s New Role

It may well be that after being shoulder-tapped in Queensland for the GCSB job, three years of living in Wellington has been enough for Fletcher and his family, given that the pending review of the GCSB would have required an even longer commitment from him. Three years of Wellington’s weather is enough for anyone... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news