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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Nelson, Marlborough & Westland Provincial Districts]

Charitable Institutions

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Charitable Institutions.

The funds required for the support of hospitals, asylums, and kindred institutions, are chiefly derived from Government subsidies and local rates. To these may be added fees from patients, and contributions due to private generosity. There are large hospitals at Hokitika, Greymouth and Westport, and smaller ones at Reefton, Kumara, Ross, and Charleston. The institution at Greymouth is shortly (1905) to be rebuilt, and will consist of substantial brick buildings. There are benevolent societies at Hokitika and Greymouth. The work of distributing charitable aid, and relieving the absolutely destitute, is carried out by the Hospital and Charitable Aid Boards of Hokitika, Greymouth and Westport respectively.

The Westland District Hospital and Charitable Aid Board was incorporated in the year 1885. The district under the jurisdiction of the Board extends from the Teremakau river on the north to Martin's Bay on the south, and one of the Board's duties is to provide funds for the maintainance of hospitals and benevolent institutions throughout the district. There are three hospitals and three benevolent societies; namely, at Hokitika, Kumara, and Ross, and an annual requisition is sent by the Board to the various local bodies in the district to raise necessary funds. For the year ending the 31st of March, 1905, £1610 was raised in this way, and a subsidy of pound for pound was received from the Government in addition. Of the total of £3,220, the Benevolent Societies in the three centres received about £700, and the balance was allotted to the various hospitals, with the exception of a small sum for the expenses of the Board. Members for the Board for the year 1905: Messrs J. F. Byrne, chairman; T. T. Jones, J. Mandl, T. J. McGuigan, A. Chifton, T. W. Bruce, J. Grimmond, and Dr. H. Macandrew.

Mr. John Peake , Junior, was appointed Secretary of the Westland District Hospital and Charitable Aid Board in the year 1902. He is further referred to as secretary of the Westland Agricultural and Pastoral Association.

Westland Hospital Board . Members for the year 1905: Messrs J. Toomey (president), W. Heinz, T. W. Beare, J. Tait, A. Cumming, Alex. Hutchison, A. Clifton, H. A. Bancke, and J. J. Breeze. Mr. J. H. Wilson is secretary and treasurer. Meetings are held on the fourth Wednesday in each month. There are also six district committees; namely, at Rimu, Kanieri, Kokatahi, Blue Spur, Stafford, and Goldsborough, to which may be added the Hokitika district committee formed through the exertions of Mr. James Chesney. The expenditure of the hospital for the year ending on the 31st of March, 1905, was £2,200. A considerable revenue is raised by the annual subscription of ten shillings, which entitles members to free admission to the hospital. The amounts raised are subsidised by the Government to the extent of twenty-four shilling for every pound.

Mr. James Toomey was elected President of the Westland Hospital Board in December, 1904, and had previously served as a trustee for nine years. He was born in Victoria, Australlia, in the year 1863, came to New Zealand at an early age, and settled on the West Coast. Mr. Toomey is known as a general storekeeper in Revell Street, Hokitika.

Mr. William Heinz is a trustee of the Westland Hospital. He is further referred to as a member of the Hokitika Borough Council, and as the proprietor of the Westland Sheet Metal and Tinware Works.

The Westland Hospital was erected about the year 1865 on the south side of the Hokitika river, by voluntary subscriptions, upon which the institution also largely depended for its maintenance. About 1877 the present buildings were erected, at a cost of £3,500, on the Hospital reserve, which lies on the main north road, about two miles from town. The site is a fine one, on a terrace, overlooking the port, and many miles of the West Coast beach. The main building is of wood and iron, and contains three wards, two of which are set aside for male patients, and the other for female patients, and there are also several separate rooms; fifty beds in all are available. The number of inmates in April, 1905, was twenty-four males, and nine females. The Old Men's Home, in the same building, contains two wards and a smoking-room, and had six inmates in the year 1905. The grounds include a large vegetable garden, and a few pigs are kept. In the year 1904 the cost of maintaining the hospital was £2,610, of which £1210 was obtained by levies for charitable aid upon the local bodies. In this, as in other West Coast districts, the miners personally contribute liberally to the hospital, and about £400 a year is given in this manner. The matron, Miss E. M. Griffiths, is assisted by four nurses and a warder.

Seaview Asylum , Hokitika, was erected in the year 1872 by the Provincial Government. It is situated on a Government reserve, about a mile from the Post Office, and occupies an excellent site on the terrace land to the north of the borough of Hokitika. There are about 150 acres of land in connection with the institution, and the whole area is cultivated with the assistance of the inmates, more than half of whom are kept regularly employed. There are four principal buildings, which include seven dormitories and thirty-seven single rooms. There are also two large dining-rooms, and a padded cell. In 1905 there were 138 males and thirty-seven females in residence, in addition to four males and two females, who were out on probation. The staff of the institution consists of a resident superintendent, a matron, a head attendant, three charge attendants, eight male and six female attendants, and a farm labourer. The Superintendent's residence is a pretty six-roomed house with a verandah, from which fine views are obtained.

Mr. John Downey , Superintendent of the Seaview Asylum, Hokitika, has been connected with the institution since the year 1877, and was promoted to his present position on the 1st of April, 1904. Mr. Downey came to New Zealand in 1871. He subsequently settled on the West Coast, was employed as attendant at the Seaview Asylum, and became head attendant in 1885. Mrs Downey acts as matron of the Asylum.

Mr. Frederick Peter Heayne Sellers was appointed Head Attendant at the Seaview Asylum on the first of April, 1904. He was born on Christmas Day, 1852, at Dundee, Scotland, and accompanied his uncle, Captain page 499 Sellers, in a sailing ship to New Zealand, in 1859. Mr. Sellers was educated principally in Wellington, learned the trade of a baker, and continued his studies at night schools. In October, 1879, he was appointed baker at the Seaview Asylum, and was afterwards appointed clerk. Mr. Sellers subsequently became clerk, attendant, and head attendant. He was for some time bandmaster of the Catholic Band, has taken part in local operatic performances, and has been president of the Hokitika Catholic Literary and Debating Society since its formation. Mr. Sellers married a daughter of Mr. D. Foster, County Clare, Ireland, in 1876, and has two daughters and two sons.

The Hokitika Benevolent Society was incorporated in the year 1886, and has its offices in Tancred Street. Meetings of the trustees are held the third Tuesday in each month at the County Council Chambers. The voluntary contributions to the society are never less than £100 per annum, and on that sum a Government subsidy of twenty-four shillings per pound is received. Trustees for the year 1905: Messrs W. Duncan (chairman), J. Toomey, J. Tait, J. Mandl, T. J. McGuigan, Dr. H. Macandrew, the Rev. W. J. Elliott, H. G. Hawkins, W. Douglas, the Very Rev. Dean A. P. Martin, and Sergeant W. Folley. Mr. H. H. Halliday is secretary.

Mr. William Duncan , Chairman of the Trustees of the Hokitika Benevolent Society, takes a keen interest in the institution, to which he devotes much of his time. He is further referred to in connection with the Hokitika Savings Bank.

Mr. Henry Holden Halliday was appointed secretary of the Hokitika Benevolent Society in October, 1901. He was born in Nelson, where he was educated, and was afterwards for thirty years in the Telegraph and Postal Department. In the year 1880, Mr. Halliday had charge of the telegraph branch at Nelson, and subsequently served in Wellington and district as relieving officer for about twelve years. He retired from the service in 1895. Mr. Halliday married a daughter of the late Mr. George O'Connor, of Hokitika, in 1893, and has three sons and one daughter.

Ring. photo.Mr. H. H. Halliday.

Ring. photo.
Mr. H. H. Halliday.