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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Taranaki, Hawke's Bay & Wellington Provincial Districts]


With certain qualifications it may be said that every destitute, afflicted, or homeless person in New Zealand is cared for, chiefly at the expense of the State. It is a rare thing in the colony to see anyone soliciting alms, and begging is made a criminal offence, punishable by law. Cases of casual poverty are relieved through Charitable Aid Reards; the sick and injured may be treated at public hospitals, free of charge, if they have not the means to pay those who are mentally afflicted are placed in mental hospitals, where they are subjected only to the barest necessary restraint, and attended to by doctors of high qualifications; and orphans and children of destitute parents are looked after in special homes and industrial schools. This system of public relief is further helped by private benevolence, and all donations to hospitals are subsidised by the Government to the extent of £1 4s per £1. The necessarv institutions are substantially built, efficiently equipped, and scrupulously clean; and are conducted in a manner that assures the comfort, and even the luxury, of the inmates. In the days of Provincial Governments, the hospitals were maintained chiefly out of provincial revenues, but were subsequently made a charge on municipal and county revenues. Under the “Hospitals and Charitable Institutions Act,” which came into force in 1885, the colony is divided into thirty-four hospital districts, which are presided over by elective Hospital and Charitable Aid Boards. The more important charitable institutions in Napier are referred to in this section.