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

'Tea Break Bill' Passes: Gordon Campbell On Bad Labour Laws And Poor Safety

By co-incidence, one of the prime dangers of the government’s new employment relations law has been underlined by the release of the death and injury statistics among workers at New Zealand ports. These are highly profitable enterprises for the port owners.

The Port of Tauranga for instance, is expecting its current full-year profit to be between $78 million and $83 million and other ports are enjoying similar boom times – but they are also highly dangerous places for the people who work on or around the port premises. At the Port of Tauranga, there have been 26 serious accidents since 2011, and two deaths. More>>

 

Parliament Today:

No Charges: Outcome Of Operation Clover Investigation

Police have completed a multi-agency investigation, Operation Clover, into the activities of a group calling themselves “The Roast Busters”. The 12 month enquiry focused on incidents involving allegations of sexual offending against a number of girls in the Waitemata Police district and wider Auckland area... More>>

ALSO:

UNICEF Report: NZ Cautioned On "Stagnating" Child Poverty

An international report by UNICEF has found that child poverty rates in New Zealand have barely changed since 2008, despite similar sized countries significantly reducing child poverty during the recent recession. More>>

ALSO:

Funding Report: Two Pathways For Transport In Auckland

Commissioned by Auckland Council, the group was asked to investigate two possible pathways for raising $300 million per year ($12 billion over 30 years) to pay for the improvements needed to help fix Auckland’s transport system. More>>

ALSO:

Pay Equity: Equal Pay Win In Court Of Appeal

CTU: The Court of Appeal has made a historic decision paving the way for a substantial equal pay claim for aged care workers. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The TPP Finishing Line, And Amazon’s Woes

If the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal wasn’t such a serious matter, this would be pretty funny… More>>

ALSO:

TV3 Video: Three Die On Roads Over Labour Weekend

The official holiday period ended at 6am Tuesday, with three deaths on the roads during the Labour Day weekend. More>>

Employment Relations Bill: Govt Strains To Get Tea Break Law Through

The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says. More>>

ALSO:

Guns: Police Association Call To Arm Police Full Time

"The new minister gave his view, that Police do not need to be armed, while standing on the forecourt of parliament. The dark irony was that the interview followed immediately after breaking news of a gunman running amok in the Canadian parliament in Ottawa..." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news