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

Charitable Institutions

page 338

Charitable Institutions.

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.

The Hawke's Bay United Hospital and Charitable Aid Board manages the charitable finances of an extensive district. It levies contributions on the counties of Hawke's Bay, Waipawa, Wairoa, and Patangata, and on the boroughs of Napier, Hastings, Woodville, and Dannevirke. There are really three distinct boards elected by the county councils, borough councils, and contributors. The Charitable Aid District, being much larger than the others, sends a greater proportion of members, though almost the same persons represent the three different Boards. The United District Charitable Aid Board, which controls the Old Men's Home, consists of seventeen members; the Napier Hospital Trustees are eleven in number; and the Hawke's Bay Hospital District Board, which controls the Wairoa Hospital, is composed of nine members.

Captain Thomas Baker, Secretary of the United District Charitable Aid Board, the Napier Hospital Trustees, and the Hawke's Bay Hospital District Board, was born in Shropshire, England, in the year 1835, and is a son of a Shrewsbury merchant. He was educated at the Blue Coat School, and went to Victoria, Australia, in 1857, by the ship “Shuffolk.” After mining at Ballarat and Egerton, he gained considerable experience as a stockman on the western plains. Mr. Baker came to New Zealand in 1861, and settled in Invercargill, where he entered the service of Messrs Robertson and Company, auctioneers. Shortly after this the Southland Provincial Government needed a gaoler, and Captain Baker was appointed to the position. Twelve months later he took charge of the gold escort at Lake Wakatipu, and in 1865 went to Canterbury, where he joined the provincial police force. He joined the Armed Constabulary at Wellington in 1869, under Commissioner Brannigan, was promoted to sergeant during his first month's service, four years later he attained the rank of sergeant-major, and in 1879 was appointed sub-inspector. He was promoted to be captain in the Permanent Militia in September, 1886, and retired from the force in 1888. In the beginning of 1890 he accepted the positions he now holds. Captain Baker was initiated into Freemasonry in Lodge Unanimity, Christchurch, in 1865. In 1872 he married Miss Carleton, of Hawke's Bay, and a year later was left a widower with one daughter. His second wife, a daughter of Mr. Eyre, of Whangarei, to whom he was married in 1875, died ten years later, leaving one son and one daughter.

Captain T. Baker.

Captain T. Baker.

The Napier Hospital occupies a prominent site on “Old Barrack Hill,” overlooking the inner harbour, or Port Ahuriri, and near the western extremity of the group of hills known as Scinde Island. The appearance and utility of the buildings have been greatly improved by the addition of a storey to the central portion, in which are situated the quarters of the resident medical officer. The wards are all lofty, well-lighted, and well-ventilated, and there is an air of cleanliness and comfort about the whole establishment. The regular staff consists of the medical superintendent, Dr. Wilson, the matron, and eleven nurses. The honorary staff includes; Dr. Henley, Dr. Bernan, Dr. Edgar, and Dr. Ronald.

Dr. Harry Montefiore Wilson, B.A., B.C., who was appointed House Surgeon of the Napier Hospital in July, 1904, was born in Napier in the year 1876, and is the eldest son of Mr. H. C. Wilson, of Messrs Wilson and Davies, dental surgeons. He was educated at the Wanganui College, and then went to Cambridge University, where he graduated B.A. in 1898, and B.C. in 1902. In the following year he returned to New Zealand, and was assistant medical officer to the Wellington Hospital before receiving his present appointment.

page 339

The Napier Old Men's Home was established about the year 1870. It is situated on Old Barrack Hill, close to the Hospital, and consists of a group of small wooden buildings, originally erected as barracks for the troops. A new and substantial building is now (1906) in course of construction at Parke Island, a few miles from the city. This building is to cost about £12,000, and is to be thoroughly equipped. The inmates of the Napier Old Men's Home number seventy-one, of whom sixty-five are males, and six are females. Mr. William Mayo is manager

The Hawke's Bay Children's Home is a benevolent institution, established about the year 1890 by a few local philanthropists anxious to provide a home for orphans and neglected children of the non-criminal class. It is situated on Burlington Road, and is a wooden building conveniently and comfortably arranged. The home is supported by public subscriptions, by small endowments that it has received, and by some little help from parents whose children are resident there. It is controlled by a committee of twenty, elected by the subscribers. The children, who number twenty-six, attend the district school, and Bible classes are held in the Home. The income for the year 1905–6 was £1,125 12s 9d, and the expenditure £1,056 10s 11d, leaving a balance of £69 1s 10d on the year's working. Mrs. Thomas Tanner is president, Miss Davenport is secretary, and the treasurer is Mrs. Randall, Mrs McGregor is matron.