News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 


Former Palmerston North Maternity Home building ends

Former Palmerston North District Maternity Home building comes to an end

29 January 2014

The MidCentral District Health Board office, previously the Palmerston North District Maternity Home, is now closed to the public and will be demolished in coming weeks.

The closure is necessary due to the previous single-storey section of the building not meeting seismic standards and will be demolished. Staff have been progressively moved into the adjoining two-storey office building.

Preparatory work for demolition has commenced. The area is cordoned off, with the board office carpark adjacent to Gate 2 closed to all staff and visitor parking. Entry to the board office is temporarily located to Heretaunga Street. Signs will direct visitors to the reception area. Temporary board office visitor parks for up to 90 minutes have been provided on Heretaunga Street outside the new temporary entrance.

The red brick building was opened in 1926, and functioned for the next 30 years (until 1957) as a maternity home, when the new Palmerston North Hospital delivery suite was opened and mothers-to-be were moved to be closer to the new delivery suite.

However, Palmerston North Hospital history book ‘A Century of Care’ shows the district maternity home may have been more grandiose if hospital developers at the turn of last century had got their way.

Then, concern about the country’s appallingly high infant mortality rate, and the number of women dying during childbirth, had led to Premier Richard John Seddon, known at this time for his phrase ‘keep the cradles full’, approving the establishment of the St Helen’s Maternity Hospitals. Seven such hospitals, named after Seddon’s birthplace in England, were intended to serve the women of New Zealand. Five were built between 1905 and 1907.

In 1916 the board discussed converting the old nurses’ home to a maternity hospital. One of the options was for the board to establish a St Helen’s hospital, but the then Director-General of Health, Dr Valentine, told a committee from the board that the local community would have to make a substantial contribution, and that under no circumstances would conversion of a private residence be allowed. Palmerston North never got its St Helen’s.

However a proposal to build a maternity home in the hospital grounds was opposed by some local residents, who believed that maternity patients should not be exposed to sickness, infection or death.

The board continued to look at the options and in the early 1920s decided to build one of its own.

It was to be 1926 before the District Maternity Home in Heretaunga Street was opened. This later became a nurses’ home – then offices – firstly for the Hospital Board, then the Area Health Board, and now District Health Board.

The original plan showed women were accommodated after their births in one and two-bedded wards on the north side of the building.

A premature babies’ ward was housed at the Heretaunga Street end of the building, while at the other end of the corridor women in early labour used the ‘first stage’ ward, before being moved to the larger ‘labour’ room. The room that was the home’s nursery, was the Chief Executive Officer’s office until late January.

The district’s first caesarean section was performed for eclampsia at the Maternity Home in December 1926 by Dr John Millar. Sadly, both mother and baby died. As antenatal care improved throughout the 1930s the country’s high infant mortality rate began to decline.

The first graduate of the Palmerston North District Maternity Home, in January 1929 was Miss Keitha Austen, who had previously registered as a general nurse in 1928.

In 1925 the hospital’s average bed occupancy rate was 124.8 (compared to 102.6 the previous year), and 900 operations were performed.

The board office was renovated in 2005 and during renovations under many layers of glue and carpet was an the original hand-cut linoleum which had been laid when the facility was opened almost 80 years before. Included in the linoleum were the words ‘P.N. District Maternity Home.’

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Review: “Salute” By Royal New Zealand Ballet In Wellington

The Royal New Zealand Ballet performed “Salute” for a final time in Wellington on Sunday night, and it was nothing short of spectacular. More>>

ALSO:

NZ on Air: More Funding For TV Captions To Increase Access

More funding for TV captions to increase access NZ On Air has increased funding to provide more captions and audio description on television programmes for the hearing and sight impaired. More>>

Music: So Laid Back Country China Album Release

On Friday night, So Laid Back Country China held a gig at Meow for the release of their new album With Knees of Honey in Goodbye Canyon. I briefly spoke with Harriet lead vocals, keyboard) and Michael (lead vocals, guitar) before the gig More>>

Art: Wellington Region Celebrates Matariki

Eight Wellington museums and galleries have joined forces to present a major programme of exhibitions and events to celebrate Matariki 2015, the Māori New Year. The Wellington Matariki Festival will host more than 60 free events and activities between Saturday ... More>>

Wellington: TEDxWellingtonWomen Speakers Unveiled

The lineup is announced today for the highly anticipated upcoming event TEDxWellingtonWomen. Speakers include local women and men who have lived extraordinary lives and have ideas worth spreading. More>>


Books: Witi Ihimaera To Address ‘State Of NZ Literature’at Festival

6 May 2015 MEDIA RELEASE Witi Ihimaera to Address ‘State of NZ Literature’ at Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival The New Zealand Book Council has chosen the 2015 Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival as the stage for its annual address, which ... More>>

Culture: Historic Māori Portraits Travel To The Czech Republic

Image credit: Gottfried Lindauer, Wahanui Reihana Te Huatare, oil on canvas, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of Mr H E Partridge, 1915 More>>

Art: Something Felt, Something Shared - Enjoy

Gabrielle Amodeo, Ruby Joy Eade, Clare McLean, Kalya Ward Curated by Emma Ng May 7 – 30, 2015 Opening: Wednesday May 6, 5.30pm Strange frequencies are channelled through personal narratives and poetic placeholders in Something felt, something ... More>>

Culture: Pukeahu Park ANZAC Day Commemoration 2015

Pukeahu Park ANZAC Day Commemoration 2015 Images from New Zealand Defence Force Click for big version A bugler plays The Last Post Click for big version A View from the top of the Carillion Click for big version Faces old and young Click for big ... More>>

Television: MediaWorks Announces Dancing With The Stars Hosts

MediaWorks and BBC Worldwide ANZ are delighted to announce host Dominic Bowden alongside co-host Sharyn Casey for the hit series Dancing with the Stars. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news