Seaview Asylum

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The Seaview Asylum (often: Seaview Lunatic Asylum, Seaview Psychiatric Hospital or Hokitika Lunatic Asylum)[1] was a psychiatric hospital located to the north of Hokitika, in the West Coast Region of New Zealand's South Island. Once the town's biggest employer,[2] the hospital was staffed by a superintendent, matron, attendants, and a labourer.[3] A comprehensive history of the hospital, Sitivation 125: A History of Seaview Hospital, Hokitika and West Coast Mental Health Services, was written in 1997 by Warwick Brunton,[4] now an Associate Dean at the University of Otago.[5]

History[edit]

Founded in 1872 by the Provincial Government, John Downey was promoted to Superintendent in 1904, and his wife served as matron.[3] In the same year, Dr Duncan MacGregor, Inspector-General of Hospitals and Asylums, authorised the villa hospital pattern of development at Seaview Hospital.[6] Three units were closed in the 1990s, as well as the nursing school in 1992. By 2002, the hospital board sold the asylum to a property developer.

In 1955, Seaview peaked with 549 patients.[7] By 1996, there were 100, and when the facility closed in 2009, it was down to 22.[2]

Buildings[edit]

Located on a government reserve, the land was terraced and consisted of approximately 150 acres (61 ha). The major buildings included dormitories, single rooms, dining rooms, and a padded cell. The Hokitika Gaol, containing 30 cells, was located on a terrace at Seaview.[8] The Seaview Lighthouse, a Category II registered Historic Place erected in 1879, was later used as an observation tower by the hospital.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mental Health". Archives New Zealand. Retrieved 23 August 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Greymouth unit open". The Press. 1 January 2009. Retrieved 23 August 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "The Cyclopedia of New Zealand - Nelson, Marlborough & Westland Provincial Districts - Charitable Institutions". Victoria - University of Wellington. Retrieved 23 August 2011. 
  4. ^ Brunton, Warwick; Seaview Hospital 125th Jubilee Committee (1 June 1997). Sitivation 125: A History of Seaview Hospital, Hokitika and West Coast Mental Health Services. Craig Printing. ISBN 978-0-473-05012-2. Retrieved 22 August 2011. 
  5. ^ "Health Sciences Division Administration". University of Otago. Retrieved 23 August 2011. 
  6. ^ "Medical Services - Hospitals - Mental". Ministry for Culture and Heritage / Te Manatū Taonga. Retrieved 23 August 2011. 
  7. ^ "Seaview’s days numbered". Greymouth Star. 17 August 2006. Retrieved 23 August 2011. 
  8. ^ "The Cyclopedia of New Zealand - Nelson, Marlborough & Westland Provincial Districts - Police Department". Retrieved 23 August 2011. 
  9. ^ Wilson, Pam (8 September 2004). "Seaview Lighthouse". New Zealand Historic Places Trust Pouhere Taonga. Retrieved 23 August 2011.