Dental Journal Excerpt 1931

Niho Pai

New Zealand Dental Nurses’ Journal

Edited by I. B. RHODES, Wellington

No. 1   MARCH, 1931   Vol. VI


A LETTER FROM OAMARU – J. Carroll   11
SEVERAL VERSES – K. M. M, Wellington   14
NIGHT AT KAWAU – E. A. G., Wellington   15
AT THE LIBRARY – P. G. Jenkins, Wellington   17
A CONSECRATION – M. M. Porteous, Wellington   20
HOME – I. Clark, Wellington   20
“A LITTLE NONSENSE NOW AND THEN” – K. M. M., Wellington   21


and hard food, and the avoidance of sticky sweets. He said that teeth were never intended for pap, and the only way to maintain their strength was to use them well.

After a most interesting address, in which he showed more than a mere acquaintance with dental matters, His Excellency concluded by wishing the Nurses every success in their work, both at the Training Clinic and in the field.

His Excellency sat down amidst hearty acclamation, and the ceremony ended when Mr. Saunders, on behalf of the Staff and the Nurses, thanked Their Excellencies for honouring the clinic with a visit.

Dental Nurses’ Experiences in the Hawke’s Bay Earthquake

Everyone has read of the tragedy in Hawkes Bay, and everyone’s sympathies are extended to the sufferers. Neither words nor pictures can describe the desolation; one has to see it to realise it, and even then one cannot grasp the awfulness of what must have happened to cause such colossal waste.

One of our first thoughts was for the safety of the Dental Nurses in the affected area, and Dental Nurses everywhere will be proud to learn how to Hawkes Bay Nurses not only upheld the honour of the Service, but added laurels to its reputation. Nurse Johnson and Nurse McPhee, of Hastings, in addition to receiving injuries of a more or less serious nature, were heavy losers of personal property, and for this alone they have the sympathy of every member of the Service.

The following reports speak for themselves: –

Waipukurau: At 10.45 a.m. on February 3rd, I was at work at the Waipawa sub-base. The patient was a boy aged ten, and I was preparing a cavity for filling.

The shock was very sudden. The patient jumped from the chair, made for the door, and lost no time in getting down the stairs and outside, but was nearly caught by the next building which collapsed into the street. The debris partially blocked the door, and when I arrived at the foot of the stairs, I was forced to remain in the doorway until it appeared safe to venture out. I located the patient, who still held the basin, and stayed with him until his parents claimed him at 2.30 p.m.

I then re-entered the clinic, placed the cabinet on the floor for safety, and after clearing the doorway, locked up and went home. The clinic was badly strained, as daylight was visible in several places, the chimney was down, and the gas heater thrown out into the room.


Next day, as it was useless to think of working at the clinic, I allied myself with the relief workers, and served in the dressing station at Waipukurau. On Thursday I proceeded to Waipawa and interviewed the Chairman of the Dental Clinic Committee, who advised me to proceed to another centre. I went to Otane where I found that the water supply had failed, and that there was no chance of securing accommodation. There were no patients, as the school had been severely shaken and was untenable. At mid-day I returned to Waipukurau, and left immediately as a V.A.D. on the casualty train for Wellington.

I reported at Headquarters on Friday. On my return to Waipawa, I collected the equipment, which was not greatly damaged, and recommended duty at Waipukurau on February 12th. – G. A. ROOD.


Suddenly, without any warning, the whole building began to rock. Nurse McPhee was the first to realise that this was no ordinary earthquake, and made a hasty exit with her patient. Things began to fall, and I decided to follow, but custom was strong, and I stopped to take off my patient’s bib. Progress to the front door was very slow, we were hurled from wall to wall. In the passage I found the little girl who had been in the waiting room, so I collected her and tried to get the children through the door.


Unfortunately, only one of the double doors was open, but we somehow got through and down the steps. Bricks were falling round us thick and fast. I pushed the children through the half-closed gate, but there was no time to follow them, so I decided to climb over the brick fence. Just as I was on the top, a mighty shake brought down the top storey which crashed on the fence and flung me into the street. It was almost impossible to stand, but I eventually gained my feet. Bricks were still being hurled right across the street, so we got the children away from the falling debris. One little girl had received a nasty gash at the base of the skull, and her arms and legs were scratched and bruised. We collected in the school ground where the children clustered together panic-stricken. Fortunately, most of them were soon claimed by their parents who arrived in large numbers.


The building in which the Hastings Clinic was located.

I stopped a passing car and took the wee injured girl home to an aged grandmother, then returned to the Central School grounds, where I found Nurse McPhee having her arm dressed. In escaping from the clinic she had received a nasty wound on her left forearm from a broken window.

With some of the teachers we went along to the main street. What we saw cannot be described in the words alone. Our chief concern was the Grand Hotel where some of us lived. It was a total wreck. For an hour or more we


wandered aimlessly about, just looking. Then I realised my left elbow was getting more painful as time went on. Soon I was obliged to see a doctor who was treating casualties on his front lawn. Somewhat puzzled he asked me what I had in my hand. Why, of course, the mirror and the explorer I was using when the shake came. He advised a splint and an X-ray for my arm. Later I went to the emergency hospital at the racecourse, where it was bandaged and put in a sling. We shall never forget the sights we saw there, but nobody complained.

We then decided to make for Havelock North where Nurse McPhee lived. First we went to have a look at the clinic. I made up my mind to go in and secure my purse and my frock, now my only worldly possessions. While I hesitated, another shake came, bringing down more debris. There was now a chance of getting in before the next one, so I climbed over bricks and through the back door, and tip-toed along the passage, terrified that any minute the walls would come tumbling down. The clinic was in a state of chaos. I collected our personal effects and crept out again. We then proceeded to Havelock. The bridge was down, but we were able to scramble across. We surely looked like refugees – still in uniform, caps gone, shoe straps broken, and each with an arm in a sling.

That night we spent under the stars with a rug. At nine o’clock there was another terrific shake. We could hear the rest of Hastings falling, and soon the sky was lighted up with the fires that followed.

The next day we wandered about looking at the ruin and enquiring for friends. At night the sky was threatening, so we thought we would sleep (?) indoors, but the first big shake took us outside again, where we decided to sit and wait for the dawn.

The Doctor had stitched up Nurse McPhee’s arm and put mine in a splint. We both felt very helpless when there was so much we might have done. On Thursday I made up my mind to leave, but had to see the clinic again, and try to leave things secure. This I found impossible, as the doors were jammed and would not shut. I felt I must save something from the wreck, so collected the official stamps and a once-discarded coat. Nurse McPhee and her family intended going to the country, and I found some people who were leaving for Masterton. So at 4 p.m. we stole away. Leaving a very sad and desolate Hastings. – H.M. JOHNSON.

Napier: On Tuesday, 3rd February, Nurses Mullan, Oliver and self were operating at our chairs when, without the slightest warning, we felt a terrific jerk, and things began to fly in every direction. We knew in an instant that

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New Zealand Dental Nurses

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March 1931

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  • I B Rhodes, Editor


New Zealand Dental Nurses


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