History of Hastings Hospital Summary to 1960

A Record

Relative to the Establishment and Development


The Hawke’s Bay Fallen Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital

Hastings 1943.

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The matter of the establishment and provision of Hospital accommodation in Hastings as far as records go, dates back to 1906.

In that year a proposal to erect a Cottage Hospital as a Seddon Memorial in Hastings was considered by a committee who approached the Napier Hospital Board and asked whether, if the building was provided by the people of Hastings, the Board would take it over and maintain it as a Cottage Hospital.

This was considered by the Board on August 13th, 1906, when a sub-committee was appointed to discuss the matter with the Hastings Committee.

Subsequently the sub-committee submitted a report to the Board.

On December 10th, 1906, the Board considered the report and made it definitely clear they would not view favourably any proposal to establish a branch Hospital in Hastings.

The maintenance of a Cottage Hospital in Hastings might be considered if the Hastings people erected and equipped the building, but this also was unfavourably received and finally it was resolved by a majority of 4 to 3 to inform the Hastings Committee that the Board would favourably consider a proposal that a District Nurse or Nurses in Hastings would be subsidized by the Board.

Thus the matter was evaded and this decision was typical of the attitude of the H.B. Hospital Board for many subsequent years.

The majority of the Board were residents of Napier and had their interests in Napier; Hastings was a growing district; the Hospital was established in Napier and quite naturally they viewed with disfavour any proposal which meant the establishment of a hospital in Hastings and which might possibly in time become of as much, or of greater importance, than the institution in Napier.

Nothing more is recorded of the movement for a Hastings Hospital until 1910.


At a Board meeting on June 15th, 1908 a letter from the Hastings Borough Council asking the Hospital Board to provide an ambulance to convey Hastings patients to Napier was considered.

It was stated the practice in Napier was that the Napier Borough Council charged 10/- for the use of the ambulance and if the patient could pay nothing, half this fee was collected from the Charitable Aid Board.

It was resolved to inform the Hastings Borough Council that the Board was prepared to treat patients from Hastings in the same way.


On September 7th, 1910, by advertisement, a meeting in Hastings was convened by Mrs. J.A. Miller (Mayoress) to discuss the matter of establishing a Cottage Hospital in Hastings and also concerning the organisation of a hospital Ball.

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The Mayor, Mr. J.A. Miller stressed the necessity for a Cottage Hospital urging that many sick people were unable to pay private hospital fees, and to others the strain of transport to Napier was detrimental. The upkeep of a four bed hospital would be £500 or £600 a year, but if £250 was subscribed and sent to the Board, with the Government subsidy of 24/- it would amount to £550. The Hastings doctors, of whom Drs. De Lisle, Barcroft, Williams and Wilson were present, had offered their services to the institution free.

Dr. de Lisle suggested that the proprietors of Hastings private hospitals should be asked for a fixed offer to provide a certain number of beds, and Dr. Barcroft stated such an offer to maintain 6 beds for £634 per annum had been made.

It was resolved – that the Board be asked to assist in the payment of fees for patients in private hospitals and by the end of the month some such scheme was apparently in operation.

Initiation of the Hastings Hospital Fund

The Mayor stated that Mr. W. Y. Deanett [ Dennett ] (past Mayor) had about £51 balance from the Indian Famine Relief Fund and was willing to devote it to an hospital fund – he considered that with a ball and a street collection, £550 could be raised in the first year.

Mr. H.J. Simpson [ H.I. Simson ] and Dr. de Lisle moved that a fund be established for the purpose of providing a Cottage Hospital in Hastings to be worked in conjunction with the Hospital Board. This was carried and it was further resolved that a ball be held, the proceeds to be handed to the Board on the understanding the money would be refunded together with the Government Subsidy.

A joint Committee to promote and control the fund was appointed – Mesdames J.A. Miller, W. Shrimpton, H.J [I]. Simson, J. Garnett, C.F. Roach, F. de Lisle, Macassey, Barcroft, Nairn, Keith, Watson, Horton, Geo. Ebbett, Foster, Richmond, Cronin, Reston, Douglas, Murray, N. E. Beamish, A.M. McLean, McKibbin, J.C. Scott, J.H. Williams, T.H. Lowry, E. Newbigin and A.J. Ellingham.

Misses Evans, Mason, Maddison and O’Reilly. Messrs. J.A. Miller, T.O. Shrimpton, H.J [I]. Simson, J. Garnett and M. Chambers – Drs. Wilson, Barcroft, McKibbin, de Lisle, Nairn and Tosswill and Messrs. J. Salmon and F.C. Hartshorn were appointed joint secretaries.

Mr. G. P. Donnelly Offers a Site

In September 1910 Mr. G.P. Donnelly wrote to the Mayor, Mr. J.A. Miller, and as a site for a Cottage Hospital he offered 1 acre of ground at the Corner of Southampton Street and Karamu Road, and if this site was not considered suitable he offered to give £500 on condition that five others would give £500 each and five £250 each – Mr. Donnelly expressed a wish that in giving effect to the scheme the Committee would consider the necessities of the Maoris and suggested that a native nurse should be stationed at the hospital to visit sick natives in their homes and give instructions in the care and feeding of children.

First Deputation to the Hospital Board

By the Board the deputation got a mixed reception. It was composed actually of Messrs. E.H. Williams, M. Manson [ Mason ], W. Hart and Drs. Barcroft,

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Wilson, Story and de Lisle and the case in support of a casualty ward to deal with accidents and acute cases was well put by Mr. E.H. Williams and Dr. Wilson.

During the discussion elicited that the deputation had no plans prepared because they wanted first to have the suggestion approved, the proposed building would not be solely for residents of Hastings but for the whole district, and the Chairman, Mr. Shrimpton said he understood it was not intended to be an hospital but merely a branch of the Napier Hospital.  Dr. Wilson considered four beds would be required for males in addition to female requirements but the Chairman was of opinion two beds would be sufficient and they would be needed only for immediate requirements.

It was suggested by Mr. J.S. Large that Nurse Navins private hospital would by arrangement be used for such cases and Mr. C.H. Cranley [ Cranby ] said that the Board had previously gone carefully into the matter and had decided it was not advisable to put an hospital at Hastings. In any case the consent of the Health Department must be obtained and he (Mr. Cranley) would raise an objection to the proposal of the deputation as he considered it was just as easy to remove patients to the Napier Hospital as it was to deal with them in Hastings.

Mr. H. Ian Simson moved “That the whole Board be formed into a committee and that a special meeting be held to consider the question of maintaining a casualty ward at Hastings.”

This was carried and the deputation withdrew.

The Board’s Special Meeting

This was held on February 13th, 1911. Mr. J.A. Miller referred to Mr. Donnelly’s offer of a site and said it was thought that if the people of Hastings provided a properly equipped building of two wards and two beds each and the necessary living rooms, the Board would take it over and maintain it. He was not able to estimate the cost of upkeep.

The Chairman (Mr. Shrimpton) said nurses’ salaries would be at least £300 a year and the Director General of Health estimated them at £500.

The Hospital would have to grow and a dozen cases might have to be provided for – it would be better to have a well equipped ambulance in Hastings.

The general opinion was that fuller information with regard to the cost of upkeep should be supplied before the Board made any decision, and a motion that the matter be deferred for a month was carried.

The question came up again at the March meeting and was again deferred for six months and the Chairman gave notice of motion “that the time has arrived for the establishment of a motor ambulance in Hastings.”

At the end of six months it was apparently still deferred and had been dropped in the meantime.

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Two years later the matter was revived, the cause being the large and ever growing Hospital levy demanded from Hastings. On May 30th, 1913 the amount required from the Hastings Borough Council was £820 and Cr. McKibbon [ McKibbin ] suggested that the Board be asked to do more for Hastings.

Formation of the Hastings Hospital Association

On August 28th, 1913, a public meeting was held in the Municipal Chambers at Hastings to consider the question of establishing a District Hospital in Hastings.

About 40 were present and Mr. W. Hart (the Mayor) presided. The Chairman referred to the previous requests which had been refused. Many people from Hastings were treated at the Napier Hospital and the hospital authorities were endeavouring to do all they could for the whole of the hospital district.

Mr. T. Clarkson moved “That this meeting is strongly of opinion that Hastings needs, and is entitled to the facilities of a Cottage Hospital and is entirely dissatisfied with the state of affairs whereby urgent cases have to be sent to Napier.”

Dr. McKibbon speaking on behalf of the medical profession in Hastings said the proposal would receive their absolute support.

Dr. Boxer said he understood that about one third of the patients at the Napier Hospital went from Hastings.

The Motion was carried.

The Hastings Hospital Association

Mr. E. Stevenson moved: “That an organisation to be known as ‘The Hastings Hospital Association’ be formed with the object of securing better hospital facilities for Hastings and District.” Seconded by Mr. T. Donovan and Carried.

It was then determined that Drs. Storey, McKibbon and Boxer and Messrs. E.H. Williams, T. Clarkson, H.A. Mossman, E. Stevenson, T. Donovan constitute a committee to collect date before interviewing the Board.

Another Deputation to the Board

At a subsequent meeting of the Committee on September 14th, Mr. T. Clarkson reported that the Board had agreed to receive a deputation next Monday and the deputation was received by the Board on that day.

The establishment of a 12 bed hospital in Hastings to deal with Emergency Cases was urged at length by Messrs. E.H. Williams and A.L.D. Fraser. The latter stating that they hoped to be under the same administration for many years to come and there was no thought of constituting a separate hospital district.

It was decided by the Board that a Committee consisting of Messrs. Shrimpton, Chambers, Hart, Miller and Cranley be set up to confer with the Hastings Association and report to the next meeting.

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On October 30th, the Herald announced that the matter of the Hastings Hospital had been deferred for two months and on November 5th, the following explanation of the delay was announced.

It appears that the Board had issued circulars to Hastings medical practitioners asking how many cases had come under their notice in which lives had been endangered, or how many had been inconvenienced or had suffered. Four Doctors replied “not any”, one knew of one case and another knew of three or four and three did not reply.

It was stated, however, that the matter would not be allowed to rest and that the local Committee was organising a house to house canvass to enquire how many had suffered or been inconvenienced financially or otherwise because of there being no hospital in Hastings.

Hastings Association Makes Decision

At a subsequent meeting the Hastings Committee compiled a series of questions for submission to the medical men of Hastings and it was agreed that the whole committee wait on them to receive their replies.

Also, that a second list of questions be prepared for transmission to all householders through the newspapers and asking for replies to Mr. Clarkson, the Secretary.

It was reported that the Hastings Operatic Society supported by the Friendly Society had given a performance of “Dan Toy [ San Toy ]” and as a result £91 17s. 6d. had been received by the Association.

The Doctors’ Report

A meeting of the Committee was held on December 12th to receive the doctors’ report.

They stated that as far as eight of them were concerned there were 20 to 25 cases annually who should be treated in Hastings. For treating these cases they considered an up-to-date motor ambulance was an absolute necessity. To provide for these cases there were two schemes: –

(a)   A Cottage Hospital and
(b)   the Board to pay the fees for these patients in private hospitals.

The cost of a Cottage Hospital as estimated by the Board would be £1200 to £1500 per annum apart from the capital cost. It allowed for 10 to 12 beds in constant use.

The doctors considered the beds would be fully occupied by many cases that could be well provided for in Napier and that the cost would tend to mount up and up.

The Board could arrange for treatment in private hospitals at £2 per week.

A fair estimate of their stay would be 4½ weeks and in Hastings it would probably be 4 weeks – if there were 20 to 25 cases for 4½ weeks at £2 per week the annual cost would be £180 to £225 and drugs and dressings for each might average £1 increasing the cost to £200 to £250 per annum and they considered a resident surgeon would not be necessary.

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The local doctors would attend necessitous cases free. Their report was signed by Drs. H.M. Wilson, B.S. Storey, J.C. Tosswill, R. Nairn, J.A. McDonnall [ McDonnell ?],
S. de Lisle, E. Boxer and P.J. Barcroft.

Dr. McKibbon did not sign – he differed with the others and said that for 12 months ending November 18th at least 25 cases who should not go to Napier had come under his notice. He considered the time had arrived when Hastings should have a cottage hospital.

At this meeting Mr. T. Donovan again mentioned that Mr. W.Y. Dennett (ex Mayor) had now in hand £55 15s. 10d. collected for the Indian Famine Fund and not been used for that purpose. He was still willing to hand it to the Cottage Hospital Fund.

It was decided that the Mayor and the Chairman be appointed trustees for the fund and a sub-committee was appointed to draw up the questions for submission to the public.

The Public Canvass

These questions as settled by the sub-committee were as follows: –

1.   Have you at any time during the last 12 months suffered inconvenience or financial loss through there being no hospital in Hastings? If so, state facts briefly.

2.   Do you consider that if existing private hospitals with a subsidy from the Board were made available for urgent cases in poor circumstances this will render the establishment of a Cottage Hospital unnecessary in the meantime.

At the next sub-committee meeting on February 3rd, it was disclosed that exceedingly few replies had been received and Messrs. Wade and Donovan offered to organise canvassers to make a personal contact.

At another meeting on February 12th, Mr. Donovan reported that canvassers had much difficulty in getting replies and the scheme appears to have been dropped.

It was decided to approach the Doctors again and the matter of approaching the board again was deferred meanwhile. It was evident that relations with the Board had not improved, several members being obviously hostile to the establishment of hospital accommodation in Hastings.

The Hospital Day Collection Disagreement

The Hastings fund had now reached nearly £200. At a Hastings Borough Council meeting on March 16th the mayor (Mr. Hard) stated that he proposed that an Hospital Saturday Collection be held on the 21st inst. half to go to the Hastings fund and half to the Board. By the 19th March arrangements for this were complete.

On March 23rd the H.B. Herald announced that a disagreement had taken place. The Board chairman objected to any portion of the collection going to the Hastings Fund. He would not be associated with it and refused to send the collection boxes. In the circumstances the Mayor had postponed the collection and had convened a public meeting for that night to discuss the matter.

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At the meeting the mayor explained the position. He had tried to interview the Board Chairman unsuccessfully. In his opinion the time had arrived when they should assert themselves and get a Cottage Hospital.

Mr. T. Clarkson supported the action of the Mayor. The Board had insisted on information it was impossible to supply and they should have a collection for the Hastings Funds. He moved “That the meeting approves the Mayor’s action and he be authorised to arrange for a collection, the whole proceeds to go to the Hastings Fund.” Mr. Cassin seconded this.

Dr. McKibbon differed and moved an amendment: “That the Board be informed that we will give every facility for taking a collection and also that it was intended to make a collection for the Hastings Cottage Hospital in the near future.” Mr. W. Taylor seconded this.

Mr. A.L.D. Fraser supported the amendment saying it was not wise to strain relations too far with Napier.

Cr. Wade supported the amendment and approved of the Mayor’s attitude.

The amendment was put and lost and the motion carried. Mr. Clarkson then moved “That the Board be informed that the meeting was in sympathy with a collection in aid of the Board’s funds and pledges itself to afford every assistance.”

Seconded by Dr. McKibbin and carried.

Cr. Wade moved “That a collection in aid of the Cottage Hospital Fund be made next Saturday”. Seconded by Mr. Donovan and carried.

On the next day a cheque for £50 was received from Messrs. W.J. and A.F. Douglas and the matter of fixing a day for the Napier collection was deferred.

The Hastings Association Collection

This was held on Saturday March 28th. That day was wet but on April 4th the total had reached £305 14s. 2d., the expenses being £3 11s. 10d. The Napier hospital collection for the previous year had been £168 10s. 0d.

Investment of the Funds

At a Hastings Cottage Hospital Committee Meeting on May 12th, it appeared that the whole fund then amounted to £470 and it was resolved that this sum be left in the hands of the Trustees (Messrs. E.H. Williams and W.  Hart) for the time being, for investment at their discretion. It was resolved “The Board be informed that the Committee would not be ready to meet it again for some time and that the matter of putting the case to the Board be discussed at a future meeting.

At this meeting the matter of another deputation to the Board was discussed but the general opinion was that until such time as they were in a position to put a strong case to the Board it was better to take no action in this direction.

Mr. Clarkson stated the Board had given an assurance that where necessary, if they would take the advantage of private hospitals in Hastings, assistance would be given provided it went through the right source and it was determined

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to ask the Board for full information and to make it public through the press.

On June 24th a ball was held in aid of the Cottage Hospital Fund, the net profit being £106.

Shortly after, the war intervened and nothing more of a Hastings Hospital was heard for some time.

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Another Proposition – Maternity Accommodation

This question apart from General Hospital Accommodation was first raised on October 30th, 1916 by a deputation consisting of the Mayor, Mr. W. Hart and Mesdames J.H. Williams, McLeod and Lewis who interviewed the Hon. G.W. Russell (Minister of Health) at Hastings.

Mrs. Williams said the private nursing homes in Hastings were quite insufficient to meet the existing needs, and the deputation wished to know what help could be expected from the Government relative to this matter.

Mr. Russell said the matter was largely one of finance. He had in mind a scheme for greatly extending the work of the Plunket Society by reorganising the Constitution.

Another matter which he would mention was the establishment of St. Helens Homes for cheapening the cost of babyhood and training midwives.

The cost of erecting a Maternity Home would be £3000 to £4000 and the ladies present were of opinion such a sum could be collected.

The Minister mentioned that the matter could be dealt with through the Hospital Board when a good subsidy would be available, but it was explained, the idea was to establish the home under the control of the Plunket Society. The Minister said if the home was established he would find a nurse to take charge of it.

The deputation intimated they would discuss the matter of providing finance and they then withdrew.

Much correspondence with the Health Department followed, but nothing more was achieved until the matter was raised again two years later.

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Chapter 4

A Combined Maternity and Cottage Hospital Proposed

In June 1918 the grievance about levies was again raised at a meeting on June 27th of representatives of the Hospital Board, the Napier and Hastings Borough Councils and the Havelock Town Board, at which the Hon. G.W. Russell, Minister of Health, presided.

The rapid and growing increase of annual Hospital levies was stressed by the local bodies, but the Minister decided they must stand.

On July 30th a public meeting was held in Hastings to consider the acquisition of a suitable site for a Maternity Home and Cottage Hospital, the idea being to erect it at some future date, the building as a memorial to Fallen Soldiers.

Another Deputation

The Mayor (Mr. Simpson) and Messrs. Styles, King, Donovan and F.A. Cameron waited on the Board on September 9th, when the case for Maternity and Hospital accommodation in Hastings was again urged by the Mayor and Messrs. Styles, King and Donovan. The Mayor stated that the Maternity Home would be maintained by the Government.

The Board appointed the Chairman, Mr. Shrimpton and Messrs. Dennett, Chambers and Moeller a sub-committee to examine the representatives of the deputation and report to the next Board meeting, the chairman stating that the proposed Cottage Hospital would be an auxiliary of the Napier Hospital and would be maintained by the Board.

No more is recorded bearing on the matter until the following year.

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The Influenza Epidemic


The big influenza epidemic appeared in Hastings early in November and on November 7th the Hastings Borough Council held an urgent meeting to consider measures of dealing with it and on the 14th a public meeting was held to discuss certain requisitions made by the Government.

The Hospital Board at once appointed a sub-committee to take charge in Hastings and the H.B. Jockey Club buildings on the racecourse were taken over as an Emergency Hospital. Later the Drill Hall was also taken as an Emergency Hospital for Maoris.

Women volunteers were organised and in a number of directions rendered wonderfully helpful service.

Mr. Shrimpton, Chairman of the Board, Mr. H.I. Simpson, Mayor of Hastings, Messrs. Mason Chambers, T.E. Crosse, W.G. Dennett and G.F. Roach (Board Members) and Messrs. M. Johnson, T. Clarkson, H.A. Fannin, W. Hart, F. Perrin, E.J.F. King (Y.M.C.A.) Taranaki Te Ua, J.H. Coleburne [ Colebourne ], J.S. McLeod, L.F. Pegler, T. Read, F. Bennett, T. Styles, W.T. Chaplin, E.H. Williams, A.I. Rainbow, Geo. Ebbett and a number of orderlies, nurses and assistants at the Emergency Hospitals deserve mention for their work throughout the epidemic.

The Hastings medical men especially Drs. Boxer and Nairn (in charge at the Emergency Hospitals) Nurses Anderson and Walker, Mesdames Pinckney, Tosswill and T. Tanner and Misses G. Gray, E.B. Williams and A. Smith and others were untiring in their efforts to assist.

At a meeting of the Board on December 30th, 1918 the following report was submitted:

Admitted   Discharged   Deaths
Racecourse   222   174   48
Drill Hall   87   76   11

The Mayor subsequently reported that he had received subscriptions amounting to £131 for the relief of distress arising out of the epidemic, and the Hastings Epidemic Committee determined that all funds not used should go towards the establishment of an hospital in Hastings.

The Epidemic had no direct bearing on the matter of the establishment of Hospital accommodation in Hastings but it seemed to very strongly emphasise the need for it, and in a report of the Epidemic Committee of December 22nd, 1918, this was stated:

“It has been clearly demonstrated to the Committee as a result of the recent epidemic that a fully equipped hospital is an urgent necessity for Hastings”.

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The Effort Renewed After the Epidemic

1919 – 1926

There were now suggestions from various quarters that the movement for the establishment of an hospital in Hastings should be revived, including one that Hastings be constituted a special Hospital District.

At the Municipal elections in May Mr. Geo. Ebbett was elected Mayor of Hastings and this tenacious negotiator who saw the matter through finally to a successful issue waited upon the Board alone, at a meeting on August 11th, 1919.

Mr. Ebbett addressed the meeting at some length stating he had discussed the matter with the Hon. the Minister of Public Health whom he considered was inclined to favour the proposal, and that it was proposed the ward would be completed and handed over to the Board free of cost, the Board thereafter being responsible for its maintenance and management.

The matter was deferred to a special meeting of the Board to be held on August 15th.

At this meeting after considerable discussion resolutions were passed to the effect that the Board would favourably consider the establishment of an auxiliary hospital at Hastings, and that certain information bearing on the cost of maintenance be obtained from Canterbury and other Boards who controlled branches apart from the main hospital.

At the next meeting on September 8th, the Board definitely approved of the erection of a building at Hastings for hospital purposes, the matter of maintenance being deferred.

A New Proposal for a Maternity Hospital only

At a meeting on October 13th a letter was received from the Minister of Public Health agreeing to subsidise £ for £ up to £4000, the cost of a Maternity Home in Hastings, and it was resolved that the Board approved of the establishment of a Maternity Hospital at Hastings of not less than 15 beds, on an area of not less than 12 acres, the matter of a casualty ward being deferred to a full meeting.

Both Maternity and Casualty Wards

At a special Board meeting in Hastings on October 31st, the matter was at last finished. All previous resolutions were rescinded and it was resolved “That the Board favourably considers the erection of a Maternity Ward and a Casualty ward at Hastings”, Mr. Ebbett having undertaken that the site and necessary buildings would be provided and handed to the Board free of encumbrances.

The Board were of the opinion that the cost of the ground and buildings would be in the vicinity of £20,000 and it must be understood that the whole hospital and property would be a free gift to the Board and be handed over free of any encumbrance.

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Mr. Ebbett asked what would be the exact use of the hospital and Dr. Gilray explained it would be a ward for medical casualty and medical cases and any contagious cases must go to Napier Hospital.

It was decided that no sub-committee of the Board would be appointed until the money was obtained, that the area of the site must be not less than seven acres and that the site and the plans must be submitted to the Board and the Minister for approval.

The Mayor Mr. Ebbett, always afterwards admitted that his undertaking that the whole institution would be handed to the Board free of debt may possibly have been a mistake. It was at any rate, one of the main causes of the delay which subsequently took place, but having observed for many months and at several meetings, the attitude of certain members of the Board, he became definitely of the opinion that if this undertaking had not been given, the Board as then constituted would never have committed itself as far as it did, that was to approve of the establishment of both Hospital and Maternity accommodation at Hastings.

The Hastings Fallen Soldiers Memorial Committee

The Hastings Hospital project after long years of existence as an idea could now be considered as fairly launched on its way as a practical undertaking. Mr. Ebbett convened a public meeting in Hastings and submitted a proposal that the people of Hastings and surrounding districts should provide such an institution as a memorial to their fallen soldiers.

The matter was favourably received, and with the addition that monuments should be also erected at Hastings and Havelock North, it was adopted unanimously and enthusiastically and a Committee of 60 including seven prominent Maoris was set up at the meeting.

The members were:

Chairman – Geo. Ebbett. Deputy Chairman – W. Hart
Borough Councillors: W. White, T. Styles, J. O’Neill, D.E. Davis, A.W. Hamilton, C.J. Tipping, N. Beamish, L.W. Fowler and T. Donovan.
Hastings Members: Messrs E.H. Williams, F. Perrin, M. Johnson, T. Clarkson, Geo. Cameron, Robt. Gooseman, H. Baird, L.F. Pegler, J.S. McLeod, G.K. Sinclair, H.J. Coleburne, A. Ellingham, P. Tombs, J.E. Lanauge [ Lanauze], H. Gascoyne, H. Hassall, F.E. Nelson, H.M. Campbell, M.P., Sir A. Russell, Leiut [Lieut].-Col. Holderness, Father Mahony, Revs. Brocklehurst, Edridge, McBean and P. Ramsey and Capt. Hayes (Salvation Army).
Mesdames J.H. Williams, J.C. Tosswell [ Tosswill ], Tuohy, T.W. Lewis, F. Nelson, Geo. Ebbett, Liddell, W. Keith and Lady Russell.
Misses C.T. Anderson, E. Williams and N. Roach.
Havelock North: Messrs. E.O. Clarkson, J.H. Joll and J. Phillips
H.B. County: Messrs. M. Chambers and T. Crosse.
Labour Unions: Messrs. C. Dunkley and P. Nihill
Hospital Board: Mr. Shrimpton   Y.M.C.A. Mr. D. Peck
W.C.T.U. Mrs. Lovell-Smith
Returned Soldiers Association: Dr. Boxer and K.L. Bunn
Maoris: Messrs. Taranaki Te Au [ Te Ua ], Hori Tupaea, Tangiora Puke Puke, D. Ellison, P.H. Tomoana, Rev. H. Bennett and Mrs D. Ellison.

At a subsequent meeting of the Committee an executive meeting consisting of Messrs. W. Hart, J.H. Coleburne, F. Perrin, D.E. Davis, and Jas. O’Neill with Mr. Geo Ebbett as Chairman was elected.

Mr F. Perrin was appointed Hon. Secretary and Mr. A.I. Rainbow Hon. Treasurer.

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The Canvass for Funds

During the rest of 1919 and the first half of 1920 the collection was pushed energetically by Mr. Ebbett till in July 1920 it had reached £18,000.

In the meantime offers of sites had been invited and some 14 or 15 were received. Messrs. Geo. Ebbett, J.S.McLeod and J.H. Coleburne were appointed by the Executive Committee to inspect them and make a selection. Unanimously they recommended the purchase of the site known as the Ridge, containing 18 acres about a mile from the town centre and 20 chains over the Borough Boundary and having access to the Borough Sewerage and water supply. The recommendation was unanimously accepted by the Committee.

The policy of the Government at this time was to encourage in every way possible the establishment of St. Helens Hospitals for the training of Maternity nurses. Dr. Valintine, Chief Health Officer visited Hastings, and without hesitation approved of the site and suggested to the Committee the erection of a St. Helens Maternity Hospital to be taken over and controlled and maintained directly by the Government, and certain general hospital accommodation would also be provided for.

In a letter of July 31st, to the Hon. J.A. Anderson, Minister of Public Health, Mr. Ebbett referred to the agreement of a previous Minister to pay a subsidy of £1 for £1 up to £4000 to establish a “Maternity Home and auxiliary Hospital at Hastings”.

However, as this proposal subsequently fell through, no purpose would be served by pursuing it further except that Mr. Ebbett subsequently arranged that the £4000 would be provided for the Soldiers Memorial. The Ridge property was duly acquired from the Garnett Estate and the Hastings Rugby Club Union, a deposit being paid of £100 in August 1920, £1345 6s. 1d. in September and £354 13s. 11d. in February 1921, a total of £2700. However, Mr. Ebbett arranged with the Garnett Estate to make a donation of £900 so that the actual cost of the property was £1800.

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The Years of Negotiation and Delay


Departmental Variances

At this stage the first difficulty which caused considerable delay appeared in a private letter from Dr. Valintine to Mr. Ebbett.

Dr. Valintine wrote as follows:

“Unfortunately the report as to the Minister of the Department being at variance with its medical officers over the hospital policy is only too true and will undoubtedly result in a large increase in the demand for hospitals. I may say that the officers of the department are absolutely unanimous as to the policy which has been laid down with regard to hospitals, i.e. that it is better to have a few well constructed thoroughly equipped and adequately staffed hospitals than a number of secondary institutions where the work of the medical officers cannot be under adequate supervision. I quite realise that this unfortunate disagreement between the Minister and the medical officers of the Department will handicap us as regards limiting the scope of the institution which we had mutually agreed upon as suitable for Hastings District, but the matter cannot be helped and I must face the question when I am before your meeting as best I can.”

On September 25th Mr. Ebbett replied confirming the arrangement already made, viz. accommodation for 10 maternity beds and 10 for emergency cases and children, with provision for nurses, catering and outbuildings.

The only alteration he suggested was that instead of ten beds each for maternity and hospital cases, there should be eight for maternity and twelve for hospital cases.

He proceeded “I do not forget Sir, that we have subscribed £1800 and I hope to get another £2000, but on behalf of the Committee I beg to thank you for the fair manner in which you have dealt with the matter. While conserving strictly the interests of your department, I think you have met us in a very generous way and in a spirit which we appreciate very much.”

Dr. Valintine replied on October 3rd to state that Dr.Frengley (the Department’s Inspector General) would visit Hastings about October 11th to make a general survey of the ground so as to be better able to advise as to the lay-out of the buildings.

First Sketch Plans

Messrs. Hyland & Phillips, Architects, Hastings, had been authorised to prepare sketch plans and these were received on February 12th, 1921, and Messrs. Ebbett and Hart visited Wellington to consider them with the Health Department Officers.

The Architects were then paid £116 2s. 4d.

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Government Subsidy Increased to £9000

On April 23rd, 1921, Mr. Ebbett was advised that Cabinet had decided to increase the promised subsidy of £4000 to £9000, payment to be spread over two years. This was the result mainly of representations made by the Chairman and Mr. E.H. Williams.

Preparation of the Ground

The County Council agreed on August 24th, 1922, to permit sewage and water pipes to be laid under the County Road from the Hastings Borough Boundary to the hospital site. This work ultimately cost about £820. The preparation of the ground was proceeded with and on August 25th, Mr. Campbell, M.P. advised that the Minister of Health, Hon. Mr. C.J. Parr, had recommended that £3000 be placed on the estimate so that the building might be commenced.

First Plans Found too Expensive

At about this time the Executive Committee estimated that after provision for monuments at Hastings and Havelock, cost of connecting with the Borough Sewer and water, fencing, architects’ fees and other essential expenditure £17,000 would be available for the actual buildings. It had been found that a building according to the architects’ plans would cost very much more than this.

Writing to the architects, Mr. Ebbett stated that the executive Committee were emphatically determined that they would enter into the contract in any circumstances for the erection of a building costing, or which might possibly cost, more money than they estimated would be available for the purpose, because the institution had to be handed to the Board free of encumbrance and if there was a defect there would be nobody liable for it.

He told the architects this meant only a portion of the building as planned by them could be erected and he asked them what portion in their opinion, could be most conveniently cut out to bring the cost within £17,000.

On October 13th, 1922, Mr. Rainbow, Hon. Treasurer, informed the committee that there was £11,054 11s. 11d. in hand and invested and there was £4468 8s. 0d. promised, but not yet paid.

A Hold Up as Follows

The depression of 1921-23 had by now made itself felt in no uncertain manner as far as the payment of outstanding subscriptions were concerned, and it was obvious it would continue to do so for a future period of unknown duration. This hindered and delayed the objects of the Committee very considerably as many subscribers in a quite sound position otherwise, found themselves temporarily embarrassed and unable to fulfil their promises immediately.

The change in the building plans also seemed to have some effect in Wellington, because some doubt or delay appeared in placing the Government subsidy on the estimates.

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In reply to a wire from Mr. Ebbett, Mr. H.M. Campbell, M.P., stated that the Hon. Mr. Parr would endeavour to have a sum placed on the supplementary estimates for that year.

In May of 1922, Mr. E.H. Williams paid to the Committee £361 4s. 9d. on account of the old Cottage Hospital Fund and later the balance of £463 6s. 8d. was paid making £824 11s. 5d. received from this fund.

Architects Proposal as to Cuts in the Plans

On October 26th the architects supplied the Committee with details and particulars of certain cuts in the plans of the proposed buildings, which in their opinion would bring the cost within £17,000. This would provide for 18 beds and for all service requirements and for water, electricity, drainage and gas connections at the Omahu Road Boundary, but with no provision for entrance gates, drive or lay-out.

A General Meeting

A general meeting of the Memorial Committee was held on November 2nd to which the executive Committee submitted a report, the main features of which were these: –

The disposal of the pine trees at the site realised £39. A new plantation had been planted and fenced off along the South and South Eastern boundaries.

Interest earned to October 1st was £1196 10s. 7d. and £34 0s. 4d. had been received from grazing fees.

The total amount on fixed deposit was £11,054 11s. 11d. Outstanding subscriptions amounted to £4,468 8s. 0d. of which £3,150 represented eight subscriptions of £100 or more.

The Executive Committee estimated £3,968 would certainly be collected, of which £1000 would be obtained immediately. It was considered the bulk of the balance of £2,968 would ultimately become good, but the Committee suggested that no more than £2,000 should be built on.

The money immediately available therefore, was as follows: –

Deposits £11,054, accrued interest £247, Bank credit £101, balance of Cottage Hospital Fund £463, subscriptions immediately collectable £1000 and subsidy £9000, in all £21,865.

As against this the estimated cost of water and sewer connections was £690, architects fees, say, £1400 and cost of monuments £1500, (£850 at Hastings and £650 at Havelock) in all £3590, thus leaving £18,275 plus the value of outstanding subscriptions available for the building.

A proportion of the subsidy had been conditionally promised this year, but at the moment the matter was in doubt.

The cost of the building as originally planned was estimated to be £35,000 and with the cuts proposed was £28,000.

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The Executive Committee most strongly recommended that no contract for building be entered into if the outside estimated cost was more than the money actually in hand, or as good as in hand, viz. £18,275, unless guarantors of any deficiency which might arise could be found.

The cost of administration so far had been 44/1100th part of a penny in the pound and the Executive Committee expressed its high appreciation of the services rendered gratis by Mr. Climie, Engineer, Mr. Rush, artist and Mr. A.I. Rainbow the Hon. Treasurer.

The report was signed by Messrs. W. Hart, J.H. Coleburne, D.E. Davis, Geo. Ebbett (Chairman) and F. Perrin, Hon, Sec.

Mr. J. O’Neill was now deceased and Mr. D.E. Davis had left Hastings. Messrs. Geo. Ebbett, Hart, Coleburne and Perrin continued to carry on until 1927 when Mr. Maddison was appointed.

The report was received and left in the hands of the Executive.

The Department approved of the Reduced Plan

On December 21st, 1922, Dr. Frengley, Deputy Inspector General of Health wrote to Mr. Ebbett to say that the altered plan “appeared to fit in nicely with the scheme and should prove satisfactory”.

In January 1923, Mr. Ebbett visited Wellington and discussed the plans further with the department officers and on February 1st a telegram from the Department intimated the plans had been considered favourably and then returned to the architects.

Transfer of the Site to the Crown

On March 22nd Mr. Ebbett proposed that the site be transferred to the Crown in consideration of the £9000 subsidy – his aim obviously was to make the payment of the subsidy a contract, but Dr. Valintine wrote on March 27th stating that immediately the hospital was ready the department intended to hand it over to the Board and he thought the site better be transferred to the Board direct.

To that Mr. Ebbett on April 16th replied:-

“I presume you will remember that our agreement which is distinctly on record more than once was that your department was to finance and administer the institution. Of course you may intend to make an arrangement with the Board to do it on your behalf, and I am wishing merely to remind you of the position of which the Board is aware, so that if we offer to transfer the land to them the members will be sure to know where they are in the matter.”

County Council and the Levy

In May the matter of levies was again raised and at the request of Mr. Nat Beamish, the hospital Board furnished the following return for year ending 31/3/23.

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District   No. of Patients   Cost per patient on the basis of the Hospital levy
Napier Borough   730   £5 10 0
Hastings Borough   590   5 16 0
Havelock   50   6 14 0
Taradale   50   3 9 0
H.B. County   370   36 7 0

The County Hospital levy for the following year was £13,450 16s. 7d. and the County Council decided to pay it to the Board as it was collected.

Hastings a Base or Auxiliary Hospital

This question developed into a somewhat vital matter. Napier members persisted in referring to the scheme as an “auxiliary” hospital, but when they realised that the Hastings scheme meant an institution which when complete would cost around £25,000 they began to have grave doubts as to whether it would not soon rival the Napier Hospital in importance and from this on there is little doubt obstruction was promoted by certain members of the Board.

Dr. Valintine wrote to Mr. Ebbett on May 30th, again selling out generally the policy of the Health Department with reference to hospital districts, “a central base hospital containing all modern equipment, staffed by a team of specialists and divided into numerous special departments – in other centres of the district would be found subsidiary hospitals equipped and staffed only to take cases that do not require specialist treatment.”

This policy met with the full approval of the Board and the Hastings Committee found itself up against both the Health Department and the Board.

The Committee recognised that the Hastings Hospital would be controlled and administered by the Board and fully appreciated the fact that this delicate situation required very careful and expert handling to avoid an open rupture.

Mr. Ebbett on May 31st replied to Dr. Valintine stating that Napier must be recognised as the base hospital and suggested that Dr. Valintine might arrange a conference with the Board, the Health Department and the Hastings Committee at which he could put forward his suggestion that the Board take over the Hastings Hospital.

The conference was duly held on November 10th, when Dr. Valintine and the Hastings Committee met the Board – Mr. Ebbett outlined again the Hastings scheme, viz. the erection of a casualty and maternity ward to cost about £17,000 to provide for 12 hospital and 6 maternity cases and again urged that the Board should take over the institution and control it and Dr. Valintine expressed himself as in sympathy with the proposal.

The Board requested that a written proposal be forwarded to the Board to be considered at the next meeting.

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This was duly done, but nothing relative to it appeared in the minutes of the Board’s next meeting on July 16th.

Mr. Ebbett had another interview with Dr. Valintine in Hastings on July 21st, and on the 3rd August he wrote to the architects to inform them the Committee intended to invite tenders about September 1st, and asking them to have the plans ready by then.

The plans and a letter from Mr. Ebbett were before the Board meeting on August 13th, wherein it was suggested there would be a joint meeting. This was agreed and it was fixed for August 20th, but owing to the illness of the Board’s Chairman, now Mr. J.B. Andrew it was postponed sine die.

On August 17th Mr. Gilbert McKay, now M.P. for Hawke’s Bay, informed Mr. Ebbett by wire that £9000 had been placed on the estimate for Hastings Maternity Hospital of which £3000 was available when required.

More Delay – the Board and the Department

On September 17th the Board again discussed plans etc. and decided on “accommodation” for 6 maternity cases and “buildings” for 14 emergency cases, the “number of beds to be used” to be further discussed and the setting up of the Committee to act with the Hastings Committee dealing with the buildings, purchase of materials, appointment of a supervisor and the question of management be deferred.

All this obviously meant delay.

The Hastings Committee’s proposals re entrance gates and to call the institution “The Hawke’s Bay Fallen Soldiers Memorial Hospital” were approved.

A New Proposal – A Saving of £4000

Dr. Valintine was now apparently waking up to the real position. On October 10th in a letter to Mr. Ebbett he commented as follows: –

“I am somewhat surprised at the action of the Hawke’s Bay Board. I thought they were quite amicable to the Hastings proposal, but I suppose someone must have been going behind things. I quite agree with you that under the circumstances it is very much better for your Committee not to press matters. Certainly nothing should be done with a view to trying to force the position. I certainly rely on your Committee doing everything calculated to bring about an amicable arrangement with the Board with the Hastings Hospital in sight.”

There was another combined meeting between the Board and the Hastings Committee on October 24th. A report of the proceedings was submitted to the Board at its November meeting but nothing was recorded in the minutes.

On October 17th Dr. Valintine wrote to say that after further examination of the plans by Mr. Allan, the Department’s technical inspector, Mr. Allan had assured him “That a saving of £4000 could be made in the cost of buildings to provide for exactly the same number of cases if there was any difficulty with the H.B. Hospital Board”. He was passing on this information in case the Board raised any objection.

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This ultimately turned out to be most important information. The Hastings Committee were still as determined as ever there would be no contract for the erection until they were well assured there would be no extras and no deficiency at the finish, and it was the saving suggested by the Health Department’s officers which finally enabled the Committee to enter into a contract with confidence that the monies they had would suffice to erect the buildings.

The Financial Position

A balance sheet as at November 7th, 1923 showed that investments and cash in hand amounted to £10,657 14s. 0d. There had been paid out for property purchase and improvement £2,796 18s. 9d., legal expenses £11 6s. 9d., architects’ fees £116 2s. 4d., sewer and water connections £605 4s. 0d., monuments £1,577 (Hastings £877, Havelock £700). These figures show that £15,752 19s. 1d. had been paid into the Fund and the Government subsidy of £9000 could now be relied upon.

The Health Department’s New Plans

The effect of the depression was now disappearing. It had delayed this scheme for more than 2 years but the position with farmers and others was coming back to normal, and the prospect of getting in outside subscriptions had improved considerably.

The differences about plans and certain opposition on the part of some members of the Board were other contributory factors to the delay.

Plans of buildings estimated to cost nearly twice as much as the money available for that purpose were of little use to the Committee, especially as they had been prepared directly contrary to the instructions of the Committee. It is true cuts had been proposed which meant the immediate construction of only a portion of the buildings but the estimated cost was even then appreciably more than the Committee had available and the members therefore would not approve of the plans.

This last difficulty was solved by the production by the Health Department of plans of buildings on an altogether lay-out.

The partnership between Messrs. Hyland and Phillips had now been dissolved and the new plans had been considered by Mr. Allan of the Health Department and Mr. Phillips, who continued to conduct business in Hastings.

On November 10th, 1923, Dr. Valintine wrote to inform the Committee that the proposed buildings on the new plan would provide for 20 beds against the 12 as originally proposed and he was advised the cost would be at any rate £4000 less than the cost of the Committee’s architect’s plans as reduced.

He recognised that if the new plan was approved by the Committee and the Board and was adopted, it meant commencing from the beginning and there would be a liability to the architects for the scrapped plans.

A copy of the plans reached Mr. Ebbett who immediately replied to Dr. Valintine to inform him the new plans appealed to him much more than the original ones.

At its meeting on December 10th, the Board approved of them and decided they be sent for Ministerial approval and on receipt of this a special meeting of the Board would be called.

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The next Board meeting was not held until February 11th, 1924. In the end the plans were approved by all concerned and the buildings they provided for were proceeded with, but in the meantime major problems arose bringing difficulties which caused many months delay and which required very careful and delicate handling before a solution was brought about satisfactory to the Committee.

Architects Claim for Original Plans

The Committee were anxious to bring about the adoption of the Department’s plans and realised the scrapping of the architects’ original plans meant facing a claim for fees by the architects as well as payment for the preparation of plans on the proposed new basis.

The negotiations with the architects bearing on this caused months of further delay, long negotiation and much correspondence with the architects, the Health Department and the Board became necessary.

The architects claimed £901 0s. 8d. after having made a reduction of £200 as a donation.

Mr. Ebbett at various times refused to accept this as a settlement and Mr. Rainbow also protested loudly. In a letter to Mr. Ebbett of December 13th, 1923 he said, “Some 10% of the subscribed funds are due to the architects before a single brick is laid. Messrs. Hyland and Phillips seemed to have quite missed the spirit which made possible the work upon which they were engaged.” He said he would sign no more cheques for the architects unless authorised to do so by a meeting of the whole committee, which should be convened by notice setting out the whole position in detail.

For reasons fully set out by Mr. Ebbett in a letter to Mr. H.C. Baird, this was unanimously considered inadvisable by the Executive Committee.

Mr. Phillips pointed out that his firm had been dissolved and in the settlement of accounts the retiring partners, Messrs. Massey and Hyland had been paid in full a share of the sum they claimed from the Committee. Any further reduction would have to be borne by him alone and in the circumstances he was not prepared to make any compromise. Mr. Ebbett admitted that his attitude under these conditions was not unreasonable.

The Chairman then approached Dr. Valintine pointing out the plans had been prepared under the assumption that his undertaking that the institution would be taken over by the Government and run as a St.Helens Home with some hospital accommodation, would be carried out. He knew that owing to circumstances beyond his control Dr. Valintine had been compelled to withdraw this offer, but, it was unfair they should be penalised for this and the fact that they were faced with this claim was no fault whatever of the Hastings Committee. He urged that the Health Department should pay. However, Dr. Valintine did not see it in that light and suggested the Committee should approach the Hospital Board.

In Mr. Ebbett’s reply of March 10th to Dr. Valintine he said: “I am sorely afraid the issue which is now being raised will be the undoing of an agreement with the Hospital Board which has necessitated months of hard work and almost infinite patience to bring about. Not only is it not wise but I don’t think it is fair to ask the Board to pay for the first plans. They were prepared between your Department and ourselves on the

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distinct agreement that your department would take over the institution and the Board did not authorise them, were not consulted about them, and in fact, did not know of them officially.

I am most certainly of opinion you should come here as soon as possible because the public are most impatient and we cannot go on much longer without revealing the position fully and that would be exceedingly unwise.”

Dr. Valintine arrived and the matter was discussed with the Executive Committee. As a result, terms were soon afterwards made with the architects.

A Settlement with the Architects

Finally, after further discussion and negotiation between the Chairman and the architects, it was arranged to pay them £400 for the first plans, ordinary full fees for the new ones and 1¼% instead of the usual 2½% for supervision. The Hastings Committee had always intended to arrange for its own supervisor because it looked on supervision by an architect who was on the job only at intervals, to be worth little or nothing.

However, as the architect undertook to provide “thorough architectural supervision” and in order to finalise a settlement, the committee agreed to employ them at a fee of 1¼%.

In a letter of May 6th Dr. Valintine noted that the Committee had come to a satisfactory arrangement with the Board and with the architects as to the plans which were to be adopted and congratulated the Committee on its tact and forbearance.

Preparation of the New Plans Delayed

On July 5th, the plans were still incomplete. The architects explaining that they desired to have the working drawings and schedules of quantities complete before making an estimate of the cost, so that it would be reliable. They thought they would be ready about the 21st inst.

They were produced on July 22nd. The estimated cost being £20,700 not including layout of paths and gates or architects fees. This was still in excess of the money available for the buildings and after discussion with the Committee it was suggested that with certain modifications, the main building, laundry and man’s room could be built for £19,350. This meant cutting out the nursery and the drying room in the laundry. A room in the centre of the building might be used as a nursery. The Committee did not approve of the alteration and if it was not done the position was this:-

Building cost £20,700, architects’ fees £1,300, no provision for paths, gates or layout. Total £22,000.

Cash actually available was £19,700, the deficit being £2,300.

The outstanding subscriptions promised amounted to £3,455 7s. 0d. and the Committee were of opinion that of this, £2,500 would certainly be collected, but this was the position facing the Committee.

The estimate might be too low, possibly £2500 of the outstanding subscriptions might not be collected, and the Committee was subject to an undertaking to hand the institution over to the Board free of debt.

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Even if they assumed the estimate was correct, there would possibly still be a deficit and no one liable to pay it.

Another Appeal to the Board

By this time there were indications of a change in the attitude of several members of the Board who became more favourable to the Hastings scheme. This may be accounted for by the fact that the Government subsidy of £9000 was assured, Hospital and maternity accommodation in Hastings was unavoidable, the buildings now proposed were much less palatial and pretentious than those first proposed and appeared less likely to rival the Napier institution. At any rate from about now onwards, the assistance and co-operation of these Napier members was much more helpful and friendly than they formerly were.

The Hastings Executive decided to place the figures and the whole position fairly before the Board members, and to appeal to the Board to authorise proceeding straight on with the plans and the buildings, the Board to accept responsibility for any deficit should such be the case. In the meantime the architects were requested to cease work on the plans.

Accordingly on July 24th Mr. Ebbett, in a long letter to the Board, set out the position explicitly, and asked that the assumption of the liability for any deficit should be accepted by the Board.

On the next day the matter from this aspect was discussed by Mr. Andrew, the Board Chairman and Mr. Ebbett.

Mr. Andrew considered it wise to invite tenders and see what they were, and better to write to the Board and say the plans were settled and ask that the Board approve of calling for tenders. A meeting of the joint committee of the Board and the Hastings Executive was held to consider the position on August 19th, when it was agreed tenders should be called as soon as the plans were complete.

This was called and held on August 22nd, to consider a report by the executive committee. These were the main points in it. Since the last general meeting many difficulties have arisen. Originally it was agreed that this should be a state institution controlled by the Government and on that basis plans, etc. were prepared. Your Committee always had grave doubts about the wisdom of this method of control. A Hastings Hospital could not provide for all the cases in this district and the Committee could see an everlasting contest between the Health Department and the Board as to whose responsibility a particular patient was, and the patient might be a chopping block for days while this was argued out. After further consideration in Wellington, for this and other reasons, the authorities then came to the same conclusion and finally asked us to agree to the control and administration of the institution being vested in the Hospital Board. To this we said neither yes nor no. We did not agree nor disagree.

In the meantime plans providing for buildings, etc., very much more costly than we could possibly afford, had been practically completed and now had to be abandoned. We asked the Health Department to pay for them. This was not agreed to, but the Department offered to provide plans of a suitable building and supervise its construction from Wellington. We considered this might easily mean further endless delay and would leave room for much confusion, irritation and misunderstanding and we did not accept the offer.

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Therefore new plans for a more suitable building within our means were commenced by the architects and now after many months they were almost complete. Every new proposal had to be discussed with the Department in Wellington and then with the Board in Napier. They have been considered and re-considered and altered and rearranged, until they have little resemblance to the plan submitted originally. In all this, we had received very valuable assistance from the Department and from the Hospital Board Committee. In every case the Board Committee have now been very reasonable and considerate and their experience in these matters has been of the greatest help.

We are of opinion that these plans are as good as they can be made, having regard to the money available for building and they cannot be improved without additional cost.

The Board has suggested that tenders be invited so that we may know where we are as to the cost and the money acceptable.

The report was received and the matter again left to the Executive Committee.

The Attitude of the Hastings Committee

Mr. Ebbett’s reply to Comments by Mr. H. Baird and Others

At this meeting it was suggested by Mr. H. Baird and others that general meetings should be more frequent and much more information should be published for the information of subscribers and the general public.

On the 26th August, five days later, in a very long letter to Mr. Baird, Mr. Ebbett discussed the position very fairly and fully. Copies of the letter were sent to Mr. Hart, Mr. H. Holderness and Mrs. J.H. Williams.

Mr. Ebbett commenced by saying that the Executive Committee has not the slightest earthly objection to disclosing all the information available to the full Committee but he reminded Mr. Baird that there were more than 60 members of the Committee and a disclosure to them meant a public disclosure.

The Executive knew that in Dr. Valintine they had a friend and a staunch supporter of the scheme, and when owing to a change in Government policy he was forced to go back on his undertaking that the Government would take over the control of the institution, the Executive Committee were anxious that the position should not be made any more uncomfortable for him, by publishing the facts, than it wlready [already] was.

Then the differences arose with the architects over the cost of the abandoned plans, for months negotiations went on, but nothing could be done with them. They had full fees coming to them for a second set of plans, but all proposals for settlement made by the Executive Committee except payment in full were met with a blank refusal of consideration.

When Dr. Valintine was asked to pay, he expressed himself as being astonished at their attitude and refused to consider payment, but he came to Hastings, and met the Executive and the architects. He suggested the whole business should be taken out of their hands and he would have plans prepared in Wellington.

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This brought the architects to terms, but the Executive did not wish to discredit them publicly and did not consider it advisable to publish the details of the dispute with them.

Mr. Ebbett went on to say, “It is true that before any Hastings Committee was ever formed I got the Board to record ‘This Board favourably considers the matter of a Maternity and a Casualty ward at Hastings.’

We left it at that. In the course of months, a large sum of money was collected, a Government subsidy became assured and it began to look as if the Hastings institution might rival Napier. When your Executive met the Board next, its personnel had been largely altered, they regretted what had been recorded and it was obvious that if any legitimate excuse could be found, effect would not be given to the previous resolution. We went to a number of conferences, but got nowhere. We recognised the matter called for very delicate and careful handling and patience because an open rupture might easily form the excuse they wanted and we were determined that excuse would not be provided by us.

Moreover, we knew that if the Hastings Hospital materialised it would be controlled and administered by the Board and if that was not done in a helpful and friendly spirit, the position would never be satisfactory. We could see this forebearance on our part would cause delay, but we knew we dare not press the matter, because we considered that in those circumstances it was of paramount importance that cordial and amicable relations with the Board must be maintained.”

Mr. Ebbett then explained the position with regard to the new set of plans and the difficulties which confronted the Executive with regard to an assurance that the buildings could be paid for in full when complete.

He said there might easily be further delay, but if all these matters were to be publicly discussed on street corners the matter would develop into a second harbour question in no time. Relations with the Board were now quite amicable and the members are very friendly towards this enterprise.

Mr. Ebbett concluded by saying, “The whole question is one of confidence in the Executive and if the Executive Committee have got it the sooner some others are in our places the better. I have worked on it continually for getting on for five years and I am sick and tired of it. Had I devoted half the energy and perseverance which I have given to this, to my own interests, I could have earned at least £1000. It has occupied a lot of my time and has brought me endless work and worry and I realise that there can be no reward.”

Apparently this explanation was accepted as satisfactory as henceforward there was no similar criticism.

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The First Sod

From now on progress was better, but still slow with frequent halts and delays.

On August 27th 1924, the architects together with the Executive, visited the site and the position of the buildings was fixed and pegged out and the levels taken.

The Progress of the Plans

The Board, having authorised the calling for tenders, Mr. Ebbett again informed the architects the plans could be again proceeded with.

This work occupoed [occupied] much more time and was not completed within the estimated time. In reply to an inquiry from the Executive, the architects stated they had thought it better to prepare all the full size and ½” details and Mr. Phillips admitted he had underestimated the time required.

On November 17th the Board asked that when complete the plans be submitted to its medical Superintendent and Honorary staff for consideration and this was agreed to.

Hospital Board Approves the Plans

At a meeting on December 15th the Board approved of draft plans and referred them to its honorary Staff for a report which was received on December 19th.

The report stated that in their opinion if this institution was to be treated as a clearing station for Napier, it was too large, and if it was to be an independent hospital it was too small. If it was an emergency Hospital they remarked there would be frequent accident cases which could not be treated without an X-ray outfit. For these reasons they were unable to come to a final conclusion without further information.

During the week prior to Christmas the architects handed Mr. Ebbett the completed plans and they were before the Board Meeting on February 16th, 1925.

In his letter to the Board, Mr. Ebbett stated that if the Board approved of them the Hastings Executive intended to send the architect to Wellington to discuss them with the Health Department with a view to expediting its approval and thus avoid further delay.

The Board approved of the plans and returned them to Mr. Ebbett for submission by him to the Health Department and asked that when doing so attention be drawn to the suggestion that an X-ray plant would be required.

On receipt of the plans, etc., Dr. Valintine replied that he would have the matter dealt with as expeditiously as possible.

A Hitch Arises out of the Medical Staff Recommendations

Mr. Allan of the Health Department visited Napier and conferred with the Hospital Board. The plans were again approved subject to an alteration suggested by the Department and they were altered accordingly by the

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architects. The hold up was due to further stipulations and suggestions by the Napier Hospital Honorary Staff. However, tenders were publicly invited and at an interview in Napier between Dr. Valintine, Mr. J.B. Andrew, Hospital Board Chairman and Mr. Ebbett it was agreed to extend the closing date of the tenders.

Tenders Again too High

The Board Proposes to Meet the Deficiency

The tenders were considered by the Hospital Board on May 18th, 1925. The lowest was £25,000 as against the architects’ estimate of about £22,000. The funds available were between £21,500 and £22,000, the deficiency being £3,000 to £4,000. The Board decided to allocate £3,500 for this purpose and subject to the Health Department’s approval, the Sub-committee of the Board and the Hastings Committee to act jointly in the acceptance of a tender.

Mr. Ebbett puts the Position to Mr. Allan of the Department

The next long delay in the pursuance of the object of the Hastings Fallen Soldiers Memorial Committee was undoubtedly due to the absence of the Chief Health Officer, Dr. Valintine, in England for several months.

He it was who had been closely associated with the scheme from the beginning, and he had a first hand knowledge of all the difficulties and tribulations of the Committee. Dr. Watt, who acted as chief in his absence, was known to be a supporter of the policy of big main hospitals and his attitude to the establishment of a Hastings Hospital had never been enthusiastic. Mr. Allan, the Chief Building Inspector had been very helpful with building problems in recent months but probably had little influence. It appeared to the Hastings Executive Committee that little progress could be hoped for in Dr. Valintine’s absence. However, Mr. Ebbett made a strenuous effort to move the department into some activity.

In a long letter to Mr. Allan of May 22nd he showed the position as it then stood with regard to the cost, the possible anticipated deficiency, the Hospital Board’s agreement to get £3500 on the estimates to meet it, and appealed for the department’s assistance and co-operation and approval of the Board’s proposal.

We take the following extracts from this letter.

“As your department is aware, we have already had to pay for and then scrap one set of plans owing to an alteration in your policy.

“Throughout, we have continually stressed with the architects the importance of designing a building, the cost of which was within our means, but it seems to me that in these days under-estimates cannot be avoided.

It was suggested that we should abandon a second set of plans and start on a third lot. This was met with a unanimous and stormy protest by the Memorial Committee.

In view of the effort which has been made by large quantities of people to collect £17,000, and of the almost interminable delay which has already taken place, and the tremendous worry involved, I hope the department will see its way to approve of the Board’s proposal so that we may have an end to the matter.

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I am sure that nothing but those plans which have been approved by the Board and the Department will be accepted, even if it means that the whole of Hastings has to come to interview the Minister. After all, the position of Napier and Hastings has no parallel in New Zealand, there are no other two towns of such equal size and importance so close together, and might I ask you, in considering this matter, to remember that we had the Department’s unreserved promise to take this institution over and to maintain it, and for no consideration whatever, the department asked to be allowed to withdraw from the promise.”

However, Mr. Allan considered the matter was one of policy which only the Department Head could deal with and any decision would be deferred until it was considered by Mr. Bate.

Further Departmental Delay

The Hospital Board had also written to the Department on May 20th, but getting no satisfaction arranged at its meeting on June 15th to send a joint delegation to interview the Minister, the Chairman being appointed the Board’s delegate in conjunction with the Hastings Committee, and the M.P.s for Hawke’s Bay and Waipawa be asked to support the deputation.

Dr. Watt then wrote to say that he had proposed to visit Napier in the near future to discuss the position, but as there was to be a deputation he would defer his visit and Mr. Ebbett was advised accordingly.

In replying to the Board on the 27th June, Mr. Ebbett said he thought it would be infinitely better if Dr. Watt could be induced to come, so that he could inspect the site and view the whole position first hand.

On June 30th, Messrs. G. McKay and Sir Geo. Hunter M.P.s advised Mr. Ebbett they had interviewed Dr. Watt. He considered Hastings should either find the additional money required or accept the Department’s reduced plan, the subsidy of £9000 would not be increased, but he would visit Hastings in about three weeks time.

He subsequently deferred this visit till the end of August. It was now clear that no assistance or co-operation could be expected from Dr. Watt, and at the July meeting of the Board it was resolved to proceed with the deputation to the Minister after Dr. Watt’s visit.

On July 28th Mr. Ebbett wrote and asked Dr. Watt to have placed again on the estimates for that year the promised subsidy of £9000 which had already twice before been on the estimates.

Return of Dr. Valintine

August went by, September came and still the Acting Director General did nothing. In mid-September it was learned Dr. Valintine was on his way back and Mr. Ebbett suggested to the Board that the deputation previously arranged should interview Dr. Valintine as soon as an appointment could be arranged and to this the Board agreed.

Dr. Valintine returned in September and on the 13th, Mr. Ebbett wrote to him at length a fairly full account of what had taken place in his absence with reference to an Hospital for Hastings.

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He said, “As far as the actual construction of the building is concerned, we are just exactly where we were when you left. As far as the Hospital Board are concerned we have made much progress, our friendly relations have been greatly strengthened and at present every member of the Board is favourable except one, and one other perhaps is only neutral. The opponent is Mr. Andrew, the Chairman, but there is not by any means popular enthusiasm in Napier in support of a Hastings Hospital and as Mr. Andrew is Mayor of Napier and as his position as such may depend on the votes of the people of Napier it is good policy on his part to be also against the Hastings Hospital.

We met the Board and Mr. Allan in Napier, We heard him talking about a sketch submitted by the Department which he said we had turned down. Later it appeared Mr. Allan had discussed it with the architects and had given the sketch to them and sometime later they informed him we could not consider the proposal. None of the Hastings Committee could remember ever seeing the sketch, nor did they know it existed and they had never heard of any new proposal by the Department.

The lowest tender on the second set of plans prepared was £24,000, about £3,000 more than the architects’ estimate and about £3,500 more than we could build on being available for the purpose.

At a full meeting of the Hastings Committee, the position appeared difficult, because the executive were just as determined as ever not to commit the people of Hastings to a cost greater than the money available. There was a proposal to abandon this second set of plans and commence on a third, but this was emphatically rejected.

The Executive were asked by the Memorial Committee to approach the Board, which they did on May 18th, and the Board agreed to provide, subject to the approval of your department £3,500 to meet the deficiency.

Both I and the Hospital Board immediately applied to the Department for this approval, and to that no satisfactory reply had ever been received. Interest here is more intense than at any previous time. You can imagine the reluctance of the subscribers who had already paid for and abandoned one set of plans, to pay again several hundred pounds for a second set which has been approved by the Board and your Department, and now to abandon them and commence a third lot.

There was a suggestion that certain space and amenities should be eliminated to bring the cost within our means, but everybody agrees that would be very regrettable. The Board recognises the hardship on the Hastings Committee who have laboured on this matter for six years and to say that they hope your department will approve of the Board’s proposal is but a very poor expression of their feelings.

The interminable delay in arriving anywhere has caused endless disappointment to everybody.

If what we ask for and what the Board now desires is given effect, it will enable us to attain what we have long striven for, and we all hope you will allow the building to proceed on the plans last settled.

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Mr. Ebbett Contrives to Arrange for Additional Board Members on the Deputation

On the 25th September Mr. Ebbett wrote to Mr. T. Donovan, one of the Hastings members of the Board, pointing out that Mr. Andrew was the only Hospital Board representative on the deputation, and as he was opposed to the Hastings Hospital, this without doubt would become apparent, and might easily raise an impression in Dr. Valintine’s mind unfavourable to the requests of the deputation. He suggested certain steps Mr. Donovan could take to have other members of the Board favourable to the scheme added to the deputation.

Accordingly at its meeting on October 12th, the Board, after considerable discussion, decided on the motion of Mr. Priest, seconded by Mr. Harris, that the deputation should consist of Mr. Andrew for Napier, Mr. L.W. Fowler for Hastings and Mr. G. Priest for the Hawke’s Bay County.

The deputation was to be received in Wellington by Dr. Valintine on October 14th, and on the day previous, Mr. Rainbow, the Honorary Treasurer advised the Executive that the approximate amount actually then in hand, either invested or on current account was £12,000 making £21,000 with the £9,000 subsidy.

The Matter of a Sketch Plan cleared up

It will be remembered, Mr. Allan said a sketch plan sent by him to the architects had been returned by them with a statement that the Hastings Executive would not consider it, whereas no member of the Executive could remember ever having seen it.

The sketch was returned from Wellington and on inspection by Mr. Ebbett he remembered having seen it, but was confident he was never told it was a Department sketch illustrating a suggested alteration made by its officers. With this the matter was allowed to drop.

The Result of the Deputation

The Department Agrees to Prepare Plans

To the deputation, Dr. Valintine refused to agree to the Board’s proposal to make a grant of £3,500, being of opinion the work could be completed satisfactorily at a cost not exceeding the money available, viz. £21,000 and he offered the departmental architects’ services to prepare the plans, and this was agreed to.

In due course Mr. Ebbett received complete sketch plans from the Department through the Board, and on November 5th, he informed the Board a general meeting of the Hastings Committee would be held on November 13th to consider them.

Hastings Committee Accepts the Department’s Offer

As Mr. Ebbett’s next letter to the Board on November 14th sets out the conditions upon which the Hastings Committee agreed to accept Dr.Valintine’s offer, it is fairly fully quoted: –

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“I return the Health Department’s sketch plans. We accept the offer of the Department to undertake the construction and completion of the buildings according to these sketch plans. We do not desire to make any conditions, but we rely on Dr. Valintine’s unqualified assurance that the plans etc. will be proceeded with at once and the job pushed to completion with all reasonable speed. We would suggest that your Board submit the plans to the Medical Staff. For instance it appears to some members of this Committee that a single bathroom in the maternity ward will prove insufficient, and we think the medical staff might consider such matters as this.

We also ask that the specifications when complete be submitted to us. Our only reason for this request is that we may fully comprehend what it is intended to do to identify this institution as a Memorial to the Fallen Soldiers of this district. We are anxious to see that this is not lost to sight.

We may now have to meet another claim from the architects for fees and we assume this may be left with us to deal with. The sum available from us is about £12,000, less whatever sum we may have to pay the architects, and also any sum we have to pay the lowest tender on the former plan. This will be small.

The money is on fixed deposit falling due on different dates. We propose to pay it to your Board with the interest as it matures.

Later the Board will no doubt be communicating with the Department but you will note I am sending a copy of this letter to Dr. Valintine.

The Honorary Staff Reports on the Plans

The Board submitted the plans to the Medical Staff for a report to be considered by a sub-committee consisting of Messrs. Andrew, McGrath, Fowler and Moise [ Morse ] who would refer it to the Hastings Committee.

The proposal to refer the matter to the Medical Staff did not meet with the approval of Dr. Valintine. In a letter to Mr. Ebbett on November 20th he said, “I hope you will not refer matters to the Medical Staff, otherwise they are bound to have ideas on the subject, and it would lead to the erection of the hospital being delayed. I think I can say without any undue conceit that we know a great deal more about hospital matters than the average medical man.”

On December 14th the Staff’s report was considered by the Board. In it were suggested ten alterations and additions to different parts of the buildings and it concluded, “The only economy we can see would be to have fewer beds, which should be possible if patients are transferred to Napier hospital as soon as possible, where consultation, X-ray, Laboratory and operation room equipment are available.”

It will be seen by now what Mr. Ebbett meant when he expressed at an earlier date, the opinion that his undertaking to the Board to pay for the site and to hand it and the completed building to the Board “free of encumbrances” was a possible mistake.  Undoubtedly that promise had been the cause of very much delay and had cost the Hastings Committee some hundreds of pounds in architects’ fees for work which was practically of no use to the Committee. The Executive Committee were now however, emphatically and unanimously of opinion the decision had been a wise one,

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notwithstanding the delay and the cost because it was very clear to them that had the money been handed to the Board as then constituted, and the erection of the building left to it, they would have been liable for any deficiency, but there would not have been an hospital in Hastings worthy of the name for an indefinite number of years.

There was now some difference between the members of the Hastings Executive Committee as to whether they should press for consideration of the alterations, etc. suggested by the Napier Honorary Staff or press for the acceptance of the plans as they were.

The Chairman was definite they should be accepted as they were. Another controversy over these alterations would mean further months of delay, and he urged that if the demand was there this hospital would develop in spits [spite] of any opposition and this course was finally agreed to.

On January 2nd, 1926, Mr. Ebbett wrote to Dr. Valintine to inform him the Hastings Committee desired to let the plans go as they were and the whole Committee had plainly indicated that irrespective of everything else they desired the building to be proceeded with.

Board Approves of the Department Preparing Plans

At a meeting on February 15th, 1926, the Board officially approved of the Health Department architect preparing plans, and the report of the Honorary Medical Staff was received.

On March 17th Messrs. Allan and B.F. Kelly of the Department visited the site with the Executive Committee, and the actual location of the building was fixed.

They stated the plans were well advanced and they anticipated they would be ready in five or six weeks.

The Details of the Memorial Hall

On April 16th Mr. Ebbett received a letter from Mr. J.T. Mair, (Government Architect) covering a sketch of the Memorial Hall showing the bronze tablet displaying the names of Fallen Soldiers.

He said to place the whole of the inscription you suggested viz. “H.B. Fallen Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital, Lest We Forget, 1914-1918” on the facade would be so small as to be readable only at a close range, I have therefore placed the latter portion viz. “Lest we Forget, 1914-1918” on the Memorial Tablet inside the hall and I suggest the inscription on the facade be “Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital” only, this will give a better appearance. Mr. Mair also asked for the approximate number of names to be placed on the bronze tablet.

Plans Completed

Undertaking Required from the Hastings Committee

On April 26th the Hastings Committee intimated to Mr. Mair approval of the sketches and of his suggestions re lettering, and on June 2nd Mr. Mair wrote to say the plans and specifications were complete and as soon as the Hospital Board approved of them tenders would be called.

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On June 6th Dr. Valintine sent the plans etc. to the Board, and said that it was proposed to call tenders through the District Public Works Engineer at Napier and to supervise the job. Did the Board approve of this course? Also had the Board any enforceable undertaking from the Hastings Committee to hand over the institution when complete to the Board?

At a meeting on June 14th the Board agreed to the proposal and decided to ask for the undertaking referred to by Dr. Valintine and approved of the calling for Tenders.

On June 17th, Mr. Ebbett informed the Board the Hastings Committee would willingly give the undertaking, but he was uncertain whether the property should be vested in the Board or in the Health Department. Subsequently it was agreed that the site be transferred to the Board.

At its meeting on June 19th a letter was received from Mr. Ebbett asking the Board to approve the plans. It then appeared that through some oversight the completed plans had not been received by the Board and the matter was deferred.

Another Hold Up

On July 6th Dr. Valintine intimated that the Public Works estimate of the building cost on the Health Department plan was £22,000, and he further said Cabinet had decided that the Minister of Health must first decide whether or not this hospital was to go on and if so, an item must appear on the estimates before the Public Works Department could proceed to call tenders, but no tender be accepted until the amount of it had been paid into the Public Account and a guarantee given for the payment of any further sum required to cover extras which might become necessary.

Dr. Valintine then asked the Hastings Committee to pay the amount it held into the Public Account. The £9000 subsidy would be paid to the Public Works Department on demand.

The Minister of Health duly approved of the construction of the Hospital.

Without doubt there was delay by the Health Department in forwarding the completed plans to the Board for inspection. At the July meeting they had still not been received and on July 19th, Mr. Ebbett wrote to Dr. Valintine to ask that they be forwarded. He also said the Hastings Committee had decided to give the Department an order on the Bank directing it to pay the amounts of the deposits into the Public Account as they became due and this offer was accepted by the department. The actual amount paid in was £11,863 10s. 8d.

In a letter to the Board of July 20th, Mr. Ebbett said, “I have already suggested at least twice that the plans should be forwarded to your Board and you will understand that no action of this Committee has been the cause of a single day’s delay.”

He also forwarded a copy of this resolution passed by the Hastings Committee:  –

“That the Chairman be authorised to give a written undertaking to the Hospital Board that the land purchased by the Committee as a site for the Soldiers Memorial Hospital will be transferred unconditionally to the Board on the completion of the building.”

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Board Receives the Finished Plans and Approves of Them

The Health Department hesitated about submitting the completed plans to the Board, probably because they surmised the matter of the numerous alterations and suggestions made by the Board’s Honorary Staff would be raised again, and the Department was simply not prepared to discuss them.

However, finally the plans reached the Board and Dr. Valintine and Mr. Allan visited Napier and discussed them with the Board’s building sub-committee (Mr. J.B. Andrew, Chairman and Messrs. McGrath and H. Hill) and on August 16th the Board resolved to approve of them.

The Question of Funds Again

The only matter now outstanding to delay the calling of tenders was the question as to the sufficiency of the monies available to meet the amount of the lowest tender.

The Committee were unable to find a guarantor for the deficiency should there be one, and Mr. Ebbett appealed to Dr. Valintine to move the Public Works Department to get tenders so that once again they would know definitely where they stood.

Dr. Valintine replied that tenders were about to be called, but if the expenditure comes to more than there is money for, including the subscriptions and the subsidy of £9000, it will be necessary to make some alteration in the plans so that the expenditure will be kept within bounds as the Hawke’s Bay Hospital Board is determined not to spend any more money than is available now.

The Board will have to face considerable expenditure, not only for general maintenance but also the cost of furnishing.

Still More Delay

However, nearly another month went by and still no invitation to tenders. On September 22nd we find Mr. Ebbett appealing piteously to Dr. Valintine.

“Is there anything new at all in the position bearing on this matter? Have you any information as to when tenders will be called? Unless something is done another summer will be gone and still nothing achieved. Is there anything at all we could do to help us out to some finality?”

On September 30th, Dr. Valintine replied to say he had been away from Headquarters for a fortnight, which partly accounted for the delay but he did not think there would be any further trouble.

“I hope the matter when once started will not entail such trials on your patience as you have heretofore experienced.”

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Lowest Tender within Funds Available

On October 13th the architect, Mr. J.T. Mair, advised Mr. Ebbett that tenders would be advertised on the evening papers of the following Saturday.

Very much hinged on the result. If the available funds were exceeded it must mean fresh change of plans and further probably very long delay.

Mr. Ebbett must have drawn a long breath of relief when Dr.Valintine advised him the lowest tender was £19,800 and the tenders Board said Dr. Valintine “had recommended the acceptance of this tender (Messrs. Hillen and Howard) so that at last the efforts of the Committee and yourself are to be rewarded as a commencement of the building should now be possible within the next few weeks.”

At Long Last Something Practical

Now instead of elusively abstract difficulties and interminable delays seemingly leading nowhere, the Committee had plenty of solid practical matters to consider and as at this stage it appeareed [appeared] there would be at least some surplus money and there were still a number of outstanding subscriptions, something could be done.

Christmas of 1926 came much more pleasantly and satisfactorily to the members of the Hawke’s Bay Fallen Soldiers’ Memorial Committee than had the previous six festive seasons.

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Realisation –


Building Operations Begin

Early in 1927 the contractors began on the building and for the first half of the year the work went smoothly and satisfactorily.

In June it was learned that the cost of the tablet including engraving about 300 names, would be £250, this being £100 more than the estimate. The Executive Committee agreed the names must be engraved and not painted, and the extra cost was met.

At the August and September meetings of the Board Mr. Maddison raised the matter of developing the grounds and surroundings and also urged the expedition of the furnishing and equipment.

The Secretary and the Medical Superintendent were requested to confer and to report on these matters.

Donations and Public Interest

Meanwhile the building construction proceeded very satisfactorily and the people of Hastings continued to take a very practical and intense interest in its progress.

At the Board’s October Meeting the Secretary and Acting Medical Superintendent reported on the staffing of the Hospital, that equipment was estimated to cost £3000 and the cost of running £500 per annum.

Mr. A.H. Pope undertook to supervise the manufacture of the furniture, Wilson’s Nurseries donated rose trees, the Hastings Radio Society offered to instal a radio set free of cost, Misses. Gladys and Ruth Knight expressed their intention to collect from Maraekakaho Station sufficient money to instal a bed, the Hastings Fire Brigade and Mr. Isaac van Staveren of Wellington each donated a bed and the Taradale Returned Soldiers donated a bed. A bed was also provided by Hastings ex-servicemen and Mr. & Mrs. O’Connell of the Albert Hotel agreed to provide sheets and pillow cases annually for this bed.

These donations were accepted by the Board with thanks and it was resolved to affix a brass plate with the name of the donor over each bed so given.

Ready for Opening

The following is extracted from an article which appeared in the Hawke’s Bay Herald of April 11th, 1928 published in Napier.

“The Hastings Fallen Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital has now been completed and all is ready for the formal opening ceremony to be performed on Anzac Day either by the Prime Minister (The Hon. J.G. Coates) or by the Minister of Health (The Hon. J.A. Young).

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The building was designed by Mr. John T. Mair, and both inside and outside does him and its builders high credit. One could not apply to it the word ‘imposing’… rather it is neat, bright, cosy-looking, and honestly pretty. Though its motto is service before self, and though it is necessarily without any flourishes and if [is] free from any effects of architectural flights of fancy, it is undeniably an ornament to its surroundings.

It is a low, widespread building, of real brick, and cream facings without, and of glazed plaster, rimu and blue and white silvered tiles between.

The middle of the building consists of a large central block which is entered through two sets of handsome doors leading into the memorial entrance hall – so called because it will in time contain a vast bronze plaque bearing the names of 300 fallen soldiers, and it will be set in a marble slab. It is expected to arrive from England in about a month or six weeks.

Extending from either side of the main blocks are the other two wings, both of them being connected with the central block and making one complete unit. The depth of the buildings is at the maximum 136 feet, and the entire frontage to the Omahu Road – 224 feet.

Sun porches and pergolas give an airy and lightsome touch that is quite uncommon in such buildings. The length and depth are so nicely balanced that compactness and roominess, though one would imagine them mutually exclusive, are in this instance balanced to a nicety.

The buildings stand far back from the road, and have grounds measuring eighteen acres in extent. The approaches are still in the process of formation and, though it will take some time to put them into permanent form, yet a good deal has been done in the way of laying out garden plots, and putting down paths for pedestrians.

The main entrance from Omahu Road is a hundred feet wide, and narrows to sixty. A main carriage way leads up to the main door of the hospital and branches to either side of it and is broken by ornamental flower beds, rectangular and circular, picked out in limestone. On either side of the carriage way are the footways, and they in turn have flower beds following their whole length.

These flower beds have already been planted, and at present make a picture whose beauty will not, it is hoped, have faded by the opening day.

The concrete path from Stortford Lodge corner is being busily extended to the hospital gates and should be ready for use on Anzac Day.

When funds allow, the Committee will no doubt make an ornamental fence and gates at the entrance of the hospital; but as matters stand at present, work must be done gradually and cautiously.

Nevertheless, by the time the opening day comes the grounds will be in excellent trim, and their prettiness and the handsomeness of the building will without doubt surprise the visitors.

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The finishing of the building will not have been completed by that time, but will have reached such a stage that the public will be able to form a fairly exact idea of what the interior will look like when the whole of the furnishings are in place.

It is expected that the hospital will not be ready to receive patients till about the middle of May.

On the Hastings side of the main block is the nurses’ home, a separate building similar in design to the other parts of the hospital. It is equipped with a sun porch, has 12 bedrooms upstairs and downstairs and will be most comfortably furnished. Fireplaces and steam radiators will add to the cosiness of the home; it is far enough away from the actual hospital buildings to enable tired nurses to be out of sound and mostly out of sight of their working surroundings.

The central block of the hospital contains the memorial entrance hall already mentioned, the matron’s living quarters, nurses’ dining room, kitchen and pantry, doctor’s living quarters, dispensaries and other administrative offices.

The left wing (on the Hastings side) contains the general sick wards (one or two beds in each), operating theatre, and sterilising plants. Emergency accommodation is provided by a large sun porch which, by means of a ramp from the drive, leads into this wing.

The right wing is occupied by general wards and also by the maternity section, nursery and children’s sun porch. The nursery is particularly well equipped, and with the sun porch will form ideal quarters for its purpose.

Copious lighting, both natural and artificial, has been ensured; the roofs and ceiling of the two main wards and the passage connecting them with the central block are absolutely fire proof; and the whole of the interior gives one an impression of airiness, cleanliness and thoroughly sound workmanship.

There will be little or none of the furnishings and equipment that are not made in Britain or New Zealand.

One of the most interesting, as well as expensive units is the sterilising plant attached to the operating theatre. The plant was made in Christchurch and cost £400, and a good deal of the plumbers’ fittings also are New Zealand made.

Another particularly interesting item is the chandelier in the operating theatre. It consists of a circular arrangement of electric lights set in reflectors so that no matter who is standing in the theatre, and no matter where, there is not and cannot be a vestige of a shadow; and the direction of the path of light can be adjusted as the need arises.  This plant is British made, and though we may have a more suspicious eye then most for portents and omens, one could not help musing (for our own future reference) upon the fact that as the patient lies upon the operating table, thirteen lights guide the knife in the way it should go. the total strength of the lights amounts to 2000 candle power.

The beautiful porcelain silvered tiles, and the porcelain sanitary fittings are also of British manufacture.

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It is all fine looking equipment – smart, ornamental, yet obviously serviceable and durable.

The Wards provide accommodation for 20 patients inside (including 7 maternity cases) and there is room on the sun porches and verandahs for another 10. Total 30.

Access to each part of the hospital is provided by ramps leading on to the porches and through wide doorways, so that the patients may be carried or wheeled in without any risk of discomfort of a jolting.

Lastly, having in mind the spirit which prompted the decision to build the hospital, we will quote the words on the foundation stone:-

Hawke’s Bay Fallen Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital
1914 – 1918

We are informed by Mr. F. Perrin, Honorary Secretary to the Committee, that the Committee feels itself indebted by the courtesy that has marked the whole of the negotiations on the part of those Government Departments and local bodies that have had any part in the scheme; and their assistance and co-operation has (sic.) been given, and still was (sic.) being given, with a most complete willingness.

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It is doubtful whether every detail of the furnishing will be complete by Anzac Day, because the ordering of much of it had to be delayed until the construction of the building reached a certain stage, but the hospital on the opening day will be so nearly like what it is intended to be that the difference will be negligible.

The ceremony is fixed for 3 o’clock and it is intended that the Hastings Returned Soldiers’ Association, the local group of Territorials and the Hastings Band will take part.

The only speakers will be one of the Ministers named, Mr. George Ebbett (Chairman of the Fallen Soldiers’ Memorial Committee and of its Executive) and Dr. Valintine who, as Director General of Health has been consistently helpful and interested ever since the building of the hospital was first decided upon.

The final formality will be the handing over of the title deeds of the property by Mr. Ebbett to Mr. J.B. Andrew, the Chairman of the Board.

A general invitation will be extended to the entire public but formal invitations will be given only to Dr. Valintine, Mr. H.M.Campbell, M.P. and the Chairman of all local bodies.

A Description of the Institution

Hospital Board Preparations – Higher Levies Required

Staffing – Furnishing – A Maternity or General Hospital

At the Board meeting on April 16th, it appeared that the estimated £3000 for capital equipment and £5000 for maintenance annually necessitated an increase in local body levies of £1312 19s. 9d. for capital, and £2065 14s. 9d. for maintenance.

The Napier hospital had to bear the extra burden not covered by levies, and its own capital expenditure and maintenance had to be cut down as compared with the previous year – against that could be set the acquisition of a new hospital on the capital side worth with building, £19,800, grounds £2,700, water and sewer connections £700 and allowing say £400 for other improvements, a total approximately £23,500. It would also relieve Napier of a certain number of its cases and thus reduce maintenance costs there, but two sets of overhead were more costly than one and this was reflected in the increased levy.


On April 17th it was reported that the medical staff at Napier had been increased by two and the nursing staff by 11 to prepare for the opening of the Hastings Hospital.


At a special Board meeting on April 23rd, Mr. Maddison again raised this matter. He said it was regrettable that the hospital was to be opened on Anzac Day and no move had yet been made to have it furnished.

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Dr. Berry explained that he and the matron had visited the building at Hastings to view the position so that the matter of furnishing could be considered.

He mentioned that he had made a recommendation in his annual report as follows:-

“I would say that in addition to its use as a maternity home it should be also used as a Convalescent Home for Hastings patients, particularly children, and that one or two beds only should be kept for emergency purposes.

I would suggest that no resident or honorary staff would be required if the hospital is used for the purposes I have outlined. Should an honorary staff be appointed, the very natural tendency will be to increase the scope of work done at the hospital and with an added increase in the amount of equipment necessary.

Dr. Valintine has advised the Board that for the present this procedure should be followed.

The maternity part of the hospital will be a ward of McHardy Home and will therefore be under myself. It is proposed to hold an ante natal clinic in Hastings, but any abnormal case will be admitted to the McHardy Home which will be under constant medical supervision. So far there has been no definite indication whether that would be adopted and until it was, it was difficult to settle what equipment would be necessary.”

It was resolved, “That the equipment of the maternity side of this hospital be proceeded with at the earliest possible moment.” At the Board’s next meeting the words “on the maternity side” were struck out, but as far as several members of the Board were concerned, the original intention remained.

However, a Hastings representative agreed that the hospital should be used mainly as a maternity and convalescent home. He did not think it should become a base hospital, as to maintain it as such would cost the Hastings Borough £17,000 a year. He felt strongly that in the interests of the patient he should go to the base hospital at Napier to obtain the best advice and service it is possible to obtain. If they were going to have all the broken limbs taken to Hastings, the first thing needed would be an X-ray plant, and then a resident staff which it is considered the Board’s district could not support.

At the next meeting the matter of providing an X-ray plant arose, but at the June meeting the medical superintendent advised against it as being premature and increasing the maintenance costs. Nothing more was heard of it for some years.


At the above mentioned special Board meeting it appeared to be the opinion that members had been insulted because of the omission of a general invitation to all its members and particularly deplored that the Mayor of Hastings Mr. J.A. Maddison had not been asked to speak.

The Hastings Committee had considered this. It was recognised that it was impossible to please everybody and if everyone who might think he should be asked to speak was requested to do so, the position would become impossible and the list of speakers was therefore limited as before mentioned.

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The Opening Ceremony

Anzac Day – 25th April, 1928

So long and eagerly looked for in the Hastings end of the H.B. Hospital Board District, on Wednesday April 25th, 1928 with the formal handing over of the tital [title] deeds by Mr. George Ebbett, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Hawke’s Bay Fallen Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital, long years of hard and devoted work were brought to a conclusion. Many hundreds of people were present and in beautiful weather the grounds looked their best.

The opening speech was made by Mr. Ebbett who presided. He apologised for the unavoidable absence of Major General Sir Andrew Russell, Sir Geo. Hunter and the Rev. Mr. Ramsey.

Mr. Ebbett said he could not begin better than by acknowledging the debt that New Zealand owed to those who had given their lives, the greatest sacrifice that could be made in the service of their country, and by offering the utmost sympathy to those who had thereby been bereaved.

There was a bright side to the loss they had suffered for the fallen had died gloriously in defence of the homeland and how could man die better?

This hospital, the Hastings Cenotaph and the Havelock Monument constituted an everlasting monument to those who had lost their lives in defence of freedom and liberty.

Mr. Ebbett then referred in terms of praise to the Maoris who had enlisted and had likewise given their lives in considerable numbers.

He went on to say it was very fitting that the people of this district should be assembled together for the purpose of opening a Memorial hospital on a day which had such widespread significance in our own country because it belonged only to New Zealand and Australia. New Zealand could never repay those from this country who had fallen by the wayside during the war. Nor could we repay those who, although still living, had faced and surmounted the dangers, difficulties and hardships of war with such determination and indomitable courage.

Mr. Ebbett said he considered that this hospital could not, at least within the lives of the present generation, become a large, fully staffed and fully equipped hospital, so long as there was that kind of hospital in Napier. The district could not support two such hospitals in towns so close together as Napier and Hastings. (Mr. Ebbett obviously had in mind two base hospitals with separate hospital districts, but much has happened in the years which have passed since 1928). That did not mean, however, continued the speaker, hospital administration. He said “If a district had too many small hospitals it would be impossible to equip properly the case [base] hospitals of the Dominion.”

He hoped the Hastings Hospital would be used so to speak as a ward of Napier.

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To it should come first maternity cases, for the Dominion wanted more maternity accommodation, then should come sufferers from minor injuries and illnesses and Hastings convalescents coming from Napier who wish to be near their friends. The hospital should be used for those purposes and not as a base hospital. New Zealand already spent more than enough on hospitals.

Mr. Young opened by saying that the day was a day of remembrance and reminded all that the fundamental principle of our world wide Christian faith was founded on the love of humanity.

There could be no better memorial to the soldier sons of Hastings nor one more fitted to honor [honour] them, and to remind us of our humane duties than this Memorial Hospital. The district deserved congratulations on having such public spirited men and women as those whose work was epitomised in this hospital. From the moment that the scheme was submitted to him he had approved of the subsidy of £9000 to the fund so generously subscribed by the citizens. the Committee had invested £16,500 of it and had earned in interest and in other ways some £3000 and the total amount available for the purpose was round £27,000.

You could have no better memorial to those brave men and women who fell added Mr. Young.

I trust the Board will welcome the co-operation of the Committee and so make this hospital the success it should be.

Mr. Young then expressed a hope that it would be possible to establish a pre-natal clinic in the maternity section of the hospital.

He hoped that the institution would be popularised and that the Board’s rate and charges would be such as would make the hospital available to every working man in the district. He hoped also that the medical men would not get control of it and turn the maternity cases into medical cases and surgical cases.

In thanking Mr. Ebbett and the Committee for the gift of a gold key, Mr. Young said, “The doors will never be closed to those requiring treatment. That is the fundamental principle of our hospital system.”

This concluded the ceremony and large numbers of the public then inspected the interior of the building.


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The Maternity Home

1928 – 1931

At its next meeting on May 14th the Board appointed a Committee consisting of the H.B. County and Hastings Borough members, Messrs. Hoadley, Logan, Priest, G. McKay and Maddison, to act for and report to the Board on matters concerning the administration of the Hastings Hospital.

Although the Board had taken over the Hospital it did not commence to function until August 1st, and then only for maternity cases, the Executive of the Memorial Committee found their labours far from finished and there was much still to occupy their time and attention.

In December and on till May, Hastings (Mr. Maddison) and other Hastings and County members raised various matters, more provision for emergency cases with consequential staffing arrangements, the appointment of an honorary medical staff and the provision of an ante-natal clinic.

In reply it explained maternity cases had swamp ed [swamped] the available beds, and the overflow had been admitted to the general side, but it was expected the hospital would be ready in about six weeks and staffing arrangements had been deferred pending the arrival of equipment. The medical Superintendent agreed to report and make a recommendation re honorary staff.

Various Works

Development of the Grounds, etc.

At the Board’s May meeting the Hastings Executive Committee intimated they anticipated they would have some £1,800 to £2,000 to carry out various works and asked if they were permitted to proceed with them. This was agreed to and it was arranged that the sub-Committee of the Board and the Hastings Executive would meet at the hospital on June 21st to consider these matters.

On May 17th the Board invited tenders for a supply of all the furnishings required. The matter of providing for emergency cases was brought up but the Superintendent said much equipment had still to be got and no date could be fixed. They had the necessary maternity nurses but as to general nurses there was an inadequate supply at Napier and this was a more difficult matter. As to a medical staff, the superintendent proposed to submit a full report later.

The Matter of Alterations and Additions again

The Medical Superintendent brought up the matter of certain alterations and additions which he had recommended when the plans were being considered but which had not been made. All were agreed about the importance of an antenatal clinic but there was no provision for it in the building. It was resolved to get the hospital functioning, these matters to be then again considered.

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Entrance Gates and Other Improvements

At the meeting on June 18th, the Board finance Committee reported having met the Hastings Executive when Mr. Ebbett submitted plans of entrance gates and stated that the Hastings Committee had obtained a price for their erection. They desired to proceed with the work at a cost of £730 of which £400 had been promised by the Health Department. The Hospital sub-Commtitee approved of the plans and the Board subject to the Minister’s approval authorised the Hastings Executive to proceed as planned.

Mr. Ebbett had also submitted to the Board’s Finance Committee proposals that the following works be gone on with.

1.   That all metal roadways be covered with a binding material
2.   A stone fence be erected along the whole Omahu Road frontage surmounted by cyclone wire.
3.   The formation of a permanent pathway from the main road to the Nurses’ Home.
4.   Certain tree planting.
5.   A nurses’ tennis court.

It was agreed that the Board apply for a subsidy on the donation of the Hastings Committee to carry  out these works, and the approval of the Minister was sought at the same time.

It was reported that the cost of the cooking apparatus would be £314 instead of the amount allowed in the contract £150.

As the Health Department still held funds, part of £21,000 deposited for the erection of the building, it was resolved to ask the Department to find the difference, but to expedite matters the Hastings Committee agreed to pay it in the meantime.

The Board Committee
The Hastings Committee Meet

A Conference as above was held on June 21st, the matron and Secretary also being present, when discussions were reached with regard to some of the proposed works, and as to others it was agreed to make recommendations to the Board.

Once again the Hastings representatives urged strongly that a definite date of commencement of hospital operations should be fixed, and the matron and secretary were of opinion that for maternity cases it could be tentatively fixed for July 31st. The Board members present agreed that a strenuous effort should be made to have it ready by that date, and at the Board meetings a special committee consisting of the Superintendent, Secretary, Matron, the Chairman and Dr. Wilson was appointed to deal with all matters considered necessary for the satisfactory functioning of the institution and with power to act, the staff to be installed by August 1st, 1928. It was still understood that this would be for maternity cases only.

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The hospital was properly opened on August 1st, 1928 for maternity cases only, this being all that provision could be made for at the time.

Sister I.G. Owen was the first matron in charge.

The Ante Natal Clinic

At about this time the vexed question of an ante natal clinic was apparently settled by the generosity of two Havelock North ladies. The Misses McHardy through the Hastings Memorial Committee offered a donation of £560 for the purpose. The Board at once determined to apply for the subsidy of £ for £ and to have the clinic erected, and that it should be known as the McHardy ante natal clinic.

At the October meeting of the Board the Minister’s approval of the erection of the front boundary fence in stone and other improvements at a cost of £1403 was received.

At a Board meeting on November 12th the Board was reminded that £150 had been separately subscribed to equip eight beds. With the subsidy this had increased to £300 and the cost of the beds was only £120, so that £180 remained.

It was resolved that with this money a concrete footpath be constructed on both sides of the main entrance roadway at a cost of about £150.

At this meeting the Board was informed that the Hawke’s Bay Fallen Soldiers’ Memorial Committee which had been in existence for almost ten years, having now completed its work and having achieved its object, intended to wind up its affairs and disband.

At the Board meeting on February 11th, 1929, tenders for binding the gravel roadway (£50) and for erecting the front boundary wall (£395) were accepted.

It was reported by Mr. Maddison, Mayor of Hastings, that a radio equipment for the hospital had been handed to him by the Hawke’s Bay Radio Society. He said Bishop Bennett had taken a large and effective interest in providing this. It was also decided to order the preparation of plans for the McHardy Natal Clinic.

Final Meeting of the H.B. Fallen Soldiers’ Memorial Committee

The end of the H.B. Fallen Soldiers’ Committee was now drawing near. Its final meeting was fixed for February 12th, 1929 and the Executive Committee had requested the Board to send its Medical Superintendent, Secretary, Chairman and any other member who cared to attend.

The meeting was held in the Assembly Hall, Hastings, where there was a fairly large attendance including Mr. Morse, now Chairman of the Board, Mr. Maddison, a Hastings member and Dr. Berry, the Superintendent.

Mr. George Ebbett, the Chairman of the Committee presided. He said, “We can look with pride to a long struggle and some worthy accomplishments in the past, and with fairly well founded satisfaction in the present and with some measure of confidence in the future.

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I say a certain measure because there was one thing no Hastings organisation could be quite happy about, which was that there was no sign of any intention or likelihood of the Memorial Hospital being used as anything else but a maternity home.” As chairman of the Executive Committee and on its behalf he submitted a final report which read as follows:-

“As the Memorial Hospital has now been handed over to the Hawke’s Bay Hospital Board, and the time has arrived when all the accounts in connection therewith can be closed, we desire to present to the Committee for their consideration a report and balance sheet.

The Executive was appointed to arrange the erection and completion of the hospital buildings. There were many difficulties in the early stages, and in this connection we may mention the restrictive building regulations and the financial slump. There were others which came about in the ordinary course of events. There were also others the origin of which we do not know, and it would serve no good purpose to discuss them now.

An undertaking had been given to hand the site and buildings over to the Board clear of any encumbrances. As we had only a certain fixed sum of money available for the buildings and no other resources, it became of paramount importance for us to see that our expenditure in this direction did not exceed that sum. We found the matter of getting a building designed at a contract price which with extreme and unforeseen contingencies would be certain to be within the money at our disposal, was a great difficulty. Finally the Health Department undertook to erect the buildings, in case the money in hand proved to be not sufficient, they also undertook the risk of having to find the balance.

The buildings were erected by that Department under the supervision and control of its officers, and we think great credit is due to them for the satisfactory and thorough manner in which the work was carried out.

The institution was declared open last Anzac Day by the then Minister of Health the Hon. J.A. Young, and soon afterwards its control and administration were transferred to the Hospital Board.

In the beginning it was distinctly agreed between the Fallen Soldiers’ Memorial Committee, the Health Department and the Hospital Board, that this should be an auxiliary or emergency hospital and a maternity home. So far it has been used only for a maternity home, and in that capacity it has been largely used and has served its purpose admirably.

Although the space and facilities for the purpose are provided in the building, the Board has made no provision for the admission of emergency cases or for hospital cases of any kind, and apparently there is no present intention on the part of the Board to see that the arrangement made is carried out.

The local members of the Board (i.e. Hastings Members) have already made great efforts for the advancement and betterment of the Hastings Emergency Hospital. We think the Board might again be approached in order to try to discover their intentions. If they do not intend to carry out the arrangement, let it be so stated. If this is refused we think the Health Department should be approached, with the knowledge of the Board, and the position be placed before the Department.

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When the entrance and fence (i.e. concrete etc.) on the Omahu Road boundary have been completed we think the whole institution will constitute a memorial worthy of those in memory of whose sacrifice it was erected.

The balance sheet shows that we received in subscriptions and interest £20,276 4s. 7d. and from other sources £201 4s. 4d. a total of £20,477 8s. 11d. We earned £2827 7s. 8d. (i.e. of this total) in interest and £162 4s 4d. in grazing fees.

The expenditure amounted to £20,352 11s. 5d., including £700 for the Havelock North Monument and £927 4s. 4d. for the Hastings Cenotaph. There is a balance in hand of £124 17s. 6d.

We are committed to a donation of £10 towards the cost of the radio set at the hospital: and we suggest the balance might be retained. There are a number of outstanding subscriptions which have been promised by responsible persons who admit their liability, and these may be paid. There will always be plenty of avenues for expenditure at the hospital.

Again we wish to express our appreciation and our indebtedness to Mr. A.I. Rainbow, the Honorary Treasurer, for the very accurate and excellent manner in which he had kept the accounts.”

A long discussion also took place at the meeting between the representatives of the Board and the Memorial Committee. We quote the report thereof in full: –

“The prolonged disagreement of opinion on the present uses to which the Hastings Fallen Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital is being put and on the uses to which it should have been put, were laid at rest, officially at least, at a conference between representatives of the Hawke’s Bay Hospital Board and the Hastings Hospital Committee at Hastings last evening, the occasion being the committee’s final meeting (in the Borough Council Chambers). Our (i.e. the Herald’s) report of the proceedings is merely a digest of them, for the discussion as was only proper, was thoroughly exhaustive. All parties to the conference were very friendly, very frank, and in the end evidently well satisfied with the hospital’s destiny as defined by the Board’s representatives.

“There was a question to ask,” said Mr. Ebbett, in opening the meeting, and all knew what it was. When the hospital was built it was agreed that it should be an emergency auxiliary hospital and a maternity home. There might have been difficulties but the general public did not know what they were, and an explanation was due to them. Those that had given money gave it to pay for an emergency hospital, but they did not get what they paid for. The difficulties might have been insuperable, and the cost prohibitive, but it should be made known what the difficulties were. He would like the hospital board members present to give an explanation which should be handed on by the Press to the public. He himself would not express such an opinion, but it was to some extent Hastings public opinion that Dr. Berry was most hostile to Hastings. The public might be wrong, but that was their interpretation of press reports of the Board’s proceedings. If such opinions were wrong they should be dissipated.”

Mr. G.A. Maddison said that to get a discussion going he would define the Board’s standpoint. It was true that the hospital had originally been intended as an auxiliary to Napier for the treatment of emergency and convalescent cases as well as maternity cases. It allowed for 7 maternity beds and 14 others (Total 21, not 20 as given in report

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just before opening.) The training of the necessary nurses was probably one of the chief reasons for delay at the outset and it was wise of the Board to feel its way at the beginning. Experience had shown that it was necessary to use the hospital almost entirely for maternity purposes. There were now 15 beds available for such cases, and they were more or less constantly occupied. Also, it had been necessary to use 5 rooms as an ante-natal clinic, which would release 5 rooms for maternity purposes.

He had pressed Dr. Berry to make room for child convalescents, but the doctor had replied that the risk of infection made such a concession impossible. As for admitting emergency cases, it would be financial madness to spend money on providing accommodation for them. To do so would mean another £17,000 burden annually upon the ratepayers. Dr. H.M. Wilson had said there were not more than 4 or 5 emergency cases from Hastings each year and by the Board’s arrangement with Royston Hospital emergency cases could be taken there until they were fit for removal to Napier. If such patients could not afford to pay at Royston, then the Board would pay. No one would be more pleased than he to see Hastings have an efficient hospital of its own, but it would be ruinous to try to make it out of anything even resembling a base hospital.

“There had been a change in the weather at Monday’s meeting of the Board,” said Mr. Maddison, “and some members had come to realise that they had not always been quite fair to Hastings.” At that meeting the Board accepted a motion to place on its next year’s estimates a sum to provide for convalescent wards at the hospital. When the money was available, Hastings would be able to treat its own convalescent cases: and later, perhaps, to provide for a few emergency cases.

Mr. C.O. Morse (Chairman as from 17th September 1928, of the Hospital Board, said he also would like to say something of what was in the Board’s mind, though Mr. Maddison had described the position as most members saw it. It had been suggested that Napier members were very much against the Hastings Hospital. That was most unfair. As for himself, he was considered a Napier member, but he represented Havelock North and Taradale and could assure the public that he had no anti-Hastings axe to grind.

As for Mr. Maddison’s reference to finance, he himself had not considered that point. This year the Board’s progress had not been what it might have been, and it had been hard to place on estimate a sum sufficient to cover the whole costs of administration. There had been £3000 for the Hastings Hospital, but probably it would all be gone by the end of March. As Mr. Maddison had said, the Board had put aside some money for Hastings requirements next year. The Board was governed by direction of the Health Department, and when the country changed its Government it had been necessary to confer with the Minister of Health to know what policy would be approved. It would be easy for the Board to say that it would go ahead with the hospital, but it could not carry out any schemes without the approval of the authorities.”

“Mr. Maddison had been too modest,” said Mr. Morse, “in estimating the cost of providing for treatment of patients in Hastings, for he had not reckoned on the interest on the capital expenditure. On a population basis, he himself would estimate the cost to be £20,000 or nearly that, for the first few years, to the people of Hastings and Havelock. The

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present rates were only about £5000 a year. In a few days the Minister of Health would be here and it might be wise if members of the Committee met the Board and put their view before him.

Mr Ebbett: “We would get a Government subsidy on the rates. The position would still be bad, I admit, but not as bad as you make out.”

Dr. Berry began by saying: “The statements that I am hostile to the Hastings Hospital are absolutely incorrect,” and went on to say, “that the difficulties of staffing and equipping the hospital, besides the fact that in each year Hastings supplied only 4 or 5 cases needing urgent medical treatment, made the cost not at all worth while.” Now, after 6 months, it seemed that the hospital was always going to be in full use.

As for convalescent children, they were extraordinarily liable to infection and any infection might go across to the maternity side. For the same reason nearly all the children in the Napier Hospital were kept in quarantine. It was obviously undesirable to have adult male convalescents in the same hospital as maternity convalescents.

Mr. Maddison said he had done his best to get the hospital functioning as it was intended – to treat maternity cases on the one side and hospital cases on the other. Some had evidently believed such an arrangement possible, and he had followed their opinion. However, Dr. Berry said it could not and that there was a danger of infection. He was Medical Superintendent, and the Board must be guided by him.

The meeting closed with resolutions of thanks (to be conveyed to him by letter) to Dr. T.H.A. Valintine for his generous assistance, and of thanks to Messrs. Geo. Ebbett, (Chairman) and F. Perrin (Secretary of the Committee), A.I. Rainbow, R.D. Brown and to Dr. Berry, Messrs. Morse and E.T. Rees and Matron McDonald for attending as representatives of the Hospital Board.

In replying to the Memorial Committee to thank it for its kind resolution, Dr. Valintine made his attitude re the use to which the hospital was to be put very clear:-

“I do sincerely hope that it will be reserved almost entirely for maternity cases and that except for cases of minor illness, all patients requiring serious medical and surgical treatment will be sent to the Napier Hospital.”

Money for Ante Natal Clinic on the Estimate

Matter of Convalescent Accommodation Again

At a Board meeting on March 11th 1929, £25 was received from the Heretaunga Lodge to purchase a writing desk and glass fronted book cupboard for the hospital.

At a special meeting later the same day £1,200 for the ante-natal clinic was placed on the estimate, and at a meeting on the 25th March it was decided to have plans, etc. prepared and when approved by the Board tenders would be called.

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On April 15th the matter of a convalescent home at Hastings was brought up, but as the proposal meant if £3000 was provided for the purpose, a sum of £10,000 for an isolation ward at Napier must be reduced to £7,000, the matter was deferred indefinitely.


At the Board meeting on June 17th, 1929, the establishment of an Outpatients Department at Hastings was under consideration, but Dr. Allan Berry, the Superintendent, reported unfavourably on the ground that he could not spare a house surgeon to travel between Napier and Hastings.

The Chairman, Mr. Morse, suggested that possibly the necessary medical attention could be arranged for through other channels, but after some further discussion the matter was dropped in the meantime.

In March 1930, however, the Health Department intimated that the Board could supply free of charge drugs and dressings, provided it debited the District Nursing Association therefor, and this was considered to be the first step towards providing an Outpatients Department in Hastings.

It was mentioned that serious accident cases could still be treated at Royston Private Hospital at Hastings at the Board’s expense.

In September the Board arranged with the Hastings Borough Council to tar seal certain portions of the hospital grounds.

In December Messrs. W.H. Walker & Sons donated 6 boxes seedlings and the gift of a large collection of medical books came from Dr. Storey.

The erection of the Ante Natal Clinic seemed to be still delayed but in the tentative estimates for March appeared £350 for paths and roadways and £300 for heating and £1,200 for District Nurses quarters or Ante Natal Clinic at Hastings.

The First Annual Report of the Board

April 1929 marked the end of the first complete year of the Board during which the Hastings Hospital functioned, and at the April meeting the first report relative to the operations of this institution was brought forward.  It was as follows: –

“Last year was the first complete year for which the hospital functioned, and the result has shown that it was a very necessary institution for Hastings, and that in the near future its facilities will be taxed to the uttermost, as the admissions are constantly increasing, and it has already established a very fine record for service, and is spoken of by all in the most appreciative terms.”

A conference had recently taken place at Hastings (between representatives of the Hawke’s Bay Hospital Board, the Hawke’s Bay Nursing Association, Dr. A.C.B. Biggs, Medical Superintendent at the Napier Hospital and Dr. Shore representing the Health Department) with a view to establishing an outpatients department in conjunction with permanent quarters for the District Nurse. Dr. Shore finally stated that he was prepared to return to Wellington and recommend the erection

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of an outpatients department for Hastings, to be built on the hospital site, in which building would be incorporated quarters for the District Nurse.

It was unanimously agreed upon by all parties concerned that the establishment of a clinic, where all patients from Hastings district could attend and have their wants attended to, would be a great acquisition to the medical service rendered in Hastings. At the present many Hastings people who required outpatient treatment had to come all the way to Napier to receive attention.

Reference was made to the munificent donation of the Misses McHardy, of Havelock North of approximately £600 for the establishment of an ante natal clinic and which, with subsidy, amounted approximately to £1,200, and it was suggested that this amount could not be spent on a more deserving object than such, an outpatients department, as it had now been found that the ante natal clinic could be well catered for in the hospital itself without the necessity of providing a special building, and that therefore the Misses McHardy be approached by a deputation requesting that they consent to the use of their donation for this purpose.

It was decided that a nurse would be provided by the Hospital Board at the outpatients clinic and that the District Nurse’s activities would remain as previously, with the understanding that she would use the outpatients department for doing such dressings, etc., as were necessary.

The question of finance was considered, and it was finally left to the District Nursing Association to confer and to undertake the payment of a flat rate per annum towards the District Nurse, after which they would let the Board know the amount decided upon. An offer of £110 per annum was duly made and accepted.

The necessity for the outpatients department to be entirely separate and apart from the Maternity Hospital was stressed and it was pointed out that the present policy of the authorities (i.e. the Department) was strictly against any suggestion of a mixed hospital.

We cannot find figures for the year’s operations, but for the ten months April 1930 to February 1931 the number of admissions was 74, the daily average being 6.81.

We may note here that electric current had been previously supplied by the Hastings Borough Council, but in April 1930 the H.B. Electric Power Board advised that it could now supply current direct.

Also, that for 1929-30 Hastings Borough paid in levies to the H.B. Hospital Board £3,904 towards maintenance and £1,116 to capital expenditure, while for 1930-1 the estimates were £4,568 and £406 respectively.

Of the other bodies which might be considered as partly concerned with the service given by the Hastings Hospital, the H.B. County paid in 1919-30 £13,199 and £3,774 in maintenance and capital respectively, while the corresponding estimates for 1930-1 were £14,777 and £1,314; and the Havelock North Town District paid in 1929-30 £368 and £105, with estimates for 1930-1 £417 and £37.

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The total Hospital Board expenditure for 1929-30 was £22,604 10s. 3d. maintenance and £6,463 4s. 3d. capital, while the estimates for 1930-1 were £25,616 5s. 8d. and £2,279.

To complete the picture given by the above figures we may note here that between April 1 and November 30th that year (1930) £1,809 was spent on maintenance at the Hastings Hospital, £61 below the estimate, which would therefore be £1870 for the 8 months or £2805 for the year’s maintenance.

It will therefore be seen that the Hastings Borough’s maintenance contribution alone was more than covering the expenditure, without counting contributions by other areas which might be partly interested.

Meanwhile the prospect of an outpatients department was something. At the November 17th meeting of the Hospital Board it was stated that the plans of the Outpatients Department buildings at Hastings would be received within the next few days, when tenders would be called immediately, no delay being anticipated.

The Position at the End of 1930

At this time it seemed to be tacitly accepted by everybody that the Hastings institution would continue as a maternity home simply although it was definitely arranged and understood with the Memorial Committee that a proportion of the beds would be reserved for emergency and casualty cases, the demand for maternity accommodation was heavy, and with the knowledge of all the Board members, with the approval of the Health Department, connivance and encouragement of the Napier members and of the Medical Superintendent the whole of the beds available had been practically continuously filled with maternity patients.

The County members of the Board then were Messrs. C. Duff and B.J. McKee for Hastings and Messrs. N.P. Erikson [Eriksen], H.V. Hoadley, F.B. Logan, C.H. Williams and Dr. H.M.J. Wilson for the Hawke’s Bay County and even they were prepared to accept the position. Mr. Maddison had openly expressed the opinion, “That nothing even resembling a base hospital could be provided in Hastings.”

The members of the Hastings Executive who had continued to co-operate with the Board in providing amenities and effecting improvements, were very weary of it after 10 years labour and were not prepared to take up the struggle again.

True the position of the Hastings people was immensely different to what it was in 1919. They had a satisfactory maternity hospital which constituted a worthy Soldiers’ Memorial. There was a department for Hastings outpatients, a very efficient District Nursing scheme and a Maori District Nurse. Urgent accident cases were dealt with by a special satisfactory ambulance service to Napier and by an arrangement with the well equpped [equipped] Royston Private Hospital which appeared to work satisfactorily.

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There was, however, no general hospital accommodation in Hastings and this position appeared to be stabilised for an indefinite number of years and after all Napier had won.

But the idea of a general hospital for Hastings was by no means dead and awaited only a suitable opportunity to re-assert itself.

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The 1931 Earthquake

On February 3rd, 1931 the earthquake took place.  The Napier Hospital was practically totally wrecked and rendered unusable. A temporary hospital was set up at the Napier Park Racecourse but as many patients as possible were evacuated to hospitals in towns south of Napier.

The McHardy Maternity Home was badly damaged and the patients were shifted to a marquee at the Napier Park Racecourse.

The Hastings Memorial Hospital suffered no serious structural damage but an emergency station was established in the buildings at the Hastings Racecourse. A dressing station was also set up by the Red Cross for dealing with minor casualties and treated up to 200 cases daily.

The dressing station at the racecourse was staffed by the medical men of the town and by the staff from Royston Private Hospital; without their services the people of Hastings would have been in a bad way.

A nursing service was also organised by Miss Holland and did much very useful work. The reconditioning and reconstruction of the Napier Hospital was spread over several years, but temporary accommodation for 50 to 60 beds was practically ready in about a month.

Agitation for Hastings General Hospital again Raised

The Hastings Borough Council on March 5th decided that recent events had shown the necessity for a general hospital in Hastings and the Minister of Health be written to urging the necessity for such a hospital.

The Minister replied that before a permanent building programme was embarked upon, careful consideration would be given to the matter and the Council’s representations would have due weight.

The Napier Hospital was moved back to the old site on March 19th and a Board meeting to discuss the rebuilding was to be held a week later.

Suggestion to make Hastings the Base Hospital

The position relative to hospital accommodation for the H.B.Hospital District was now very clouded. Practically all the business portion of Napier had been devastated by earthquake and fire, and no policy with regard to reconstruction or extension of the Hospital at Napier had ever been seriously considered. For several months after the earthquake there were not a few people who doubted whether Napier would ever be rebuilt, and at the Board meeting on April 25th 1931, the matter of making Hastings the base hospital was raised by the then Hastings members, Messrs. G. Maddison and C. Duff.

The matter had a long, stormy and contentious history of its own.

A monster petition in support was organised in Hastings and presented to the Minister, there were many columns of newspaper correspondence criss-crossing Ministerial visits, innumerable meetings and deputations from the Chamber of Commerce and other local bodies.

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The campaign in Hastings was led by Mr. Duff but when it all reached the Minister and the Officers of the Health Department it appeared to them to be rather a mean attempt to take advantage of Napier when the people were down and helpless and it met with no sympathy or encouragement. As a matter of fact it had no chance from the beginning and just faded out.

It is referred to here because it was undoubtedly one of the several factors which ultimately brought about the provision of general hospital accommodation in Hastings.

The Kelly Bequest

While the battle over the location of the base hospital was still in progress a dramatic development took place. It became known that Miss Henrietta Lavinia Kelly who lost her life at the Masonic Hotel in Napier on February 3rd, had left what was estimated to be £35,000 for building and general purposes at the Hastings Hospital.

With the Government subsidy this would be £70,000 and when in July the Hospital Board proposed to apply to the Loans Board for authority to raise a loan of £82,500 to commence the reinstatement of the Napier Hospital this was very strongly opposed, it being pointed out that there were perfectly good buildings at Hastings and £70,000 available for additions thereto. Possibly these protests had some effect in reducing the loan applied for to £66,000.

This picture was changed somewhat when it appeared that the Kelly estate consisted largely of mortgage securities not due for various terms of years, and in the existing economic conditions the Government were not paying subsidies.

However, the Board seemed to be now reconciled to the fact that general hospital accommodation in Hastings was inevitable and that it must be faced.

Memorial Hospital used for General Cases

The Medical Superintendent reported as at March 31st 1931 “The Racecourse Emergency Hospital has continued to deal with cases in that district. The maternity work of the whole district has fallen on the Maternity Home at Hastings. The McHardy home at Napier was quite out of action for that work. Early in March all maternity patients at Hastings were moved back into the maternity building. This state of affairs can only be of a temporary nature.”

At the Board meeting on April 20th it was decided that the matter of providing more satisfactory accommodation at Hastings be referred to a sub-committee and a departmental officer to report to the Board.

With the approach of winter it was obvious the racecourse marquees would be unsatisfactory. It was urged the time had arrived to open the Hastings Memorial Hospital for general requirements and that the racecourse patients be moved there, temporary accommodation to be arranged for maternity cases.

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The Health Department still opposed to order the provision of general accommodation at Hastings, suggested an arrangement whereby six public beds would be available at Royston Hospital. On investigation this was found to be impracticable.

On April 19th there were 21 patients at the racecourse temporary hospital and there would be many more if there had been room for them. Neither was there room for them at Napier.

The Hastings Board members had examined the position and considered provision could be made at the maternity hospital for 40 to 50 beds but anticipated the department would not admit so many could be provided for.

They had also gone into the matter of leasing a building to house maternity patients, but the best available was a house which required an expenditure of £500 to make it suitable.

There were 13 maternity patients at this date and the most there had ever been was 22.

The Hastings members once again stressed the facts at this meeting on April 20th.

The Hastings Hospital was a Memorial Hospital and some £20,000 had been raised by public subscription to provide an hospital which at the time was definitely agreed should be for maternity and emergency cases. It was not that, it was a maternity hospital only, and it was now for the Board to honour the contract made with the subscribers, and make the hospital available for both purposes. The earthquake had demonstrated the need and the time had fully come when the hospital should be available for accident as well as maternity cases.

Prior to the earthquake not less than 30% of the Napier hospital patients came from Hastings district.

Hastings was serving a population of 17,000 to 19,000 people and having regard to its levy contribution these people were entitled to fair accommodation and the Board was reminded that if this was done it would not cost the Board a penny. That no doubt was a reference to the Kelly Bequest.

The difficulty which had often been urged was the danger which existed if ordinary cases were housed with maternity cases. The Health Department agreed as to this danger but when the racecourse hospital was finally closed on May 18th 1931, they reluctantly consented, and the patients were taken from there to the Memorial Hospital.

At its meeting on May 14th, when it was advised the Racecourse Hospital was about to be closed, the Hastings Borough Council recorded its gratitude to Drs. Bathgate, Cashmore, Comrie, Moller, Purvas [Purves], Kitchen, Wilson, White and Wright for their great assistance at the Hastings Emergency Hospital and to Sister Williams (Matron Royston Hospital) and the Royston Hospital staff and all other sisters and nurses who helped (many voluntarily) in the conduct of the Racecourse Hospital, also to the large numbers of voluntary workers and laymen under Mr. de Denne who rendered such valuable assistance and congratulates all of them on the wonderful work done and on the splendid spirit which was in evidence from the opening to the closing of the institution.

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The Campaign for an Adequate General Hospital

A Public Meeting

1931 – 1934

A Public Meeting to consider the position was organised and was held in Hastings on May 26th, 1931.

There were several speakers, it being suggested that the meeting should demand that the memorial Hospital be opened immediately as a general hospital with 40 to 50 beds, and other provision be made for maternity cases. Referring to the Kelly Bequest it was proposed that £10,000 could be raised for maternity purposes and the other £25,000 and the income therefrom should be used for maintenance.

The necessity for additions to the existing building was recognised. This would provide for 25 additional beds and with the nine there, would make 34.

The Board had agreed this was required, but when an architect came from Wellington it was pointed out the same position could be brought about by using verandahs and other available means at the existing hospital and the Board took no action.

It was stated that the minister in a previous interview had agreed on principal [principle] with the proposal for an extension and said it would be considered when the question of restoring general hospital accommodation in Hawke’s Bay was being discussed.

The following resolution was passed:

“That this meeting is emphatically of opinion that the time has fully arrived when proper and adequate hospital accommodation and also reasonable maternity accommodation, more easily accessible to the people of Hastings and surrounding districts should be made available by utilising and, if necessary, adding to the existing Memorial Hospital and thus providing the necessary building for maternity cases, and that a copy of this resolution be sent to the Hawke’s Bay Hospital Board, the Minister of Health and the members of Parliament for the districts concerned.”

The Board Agrees to Increased General Accommodation

This resolution was brought before the Board at a meeting on May 27th, by a deputation consisting of the Hastings Mayor, Mr. G. Roach and Messrs. G.A. Maddison, H.M. Campbell, Mr. Geo. Ebbett and H.V. Hoadley with Sgt. Major O’Leary.

The result was that the provision of adequate accommodation at Hastings was unanimously affirmed by the Board.

Whether or not it was brought about by this discussion, there was immediate curtailment of the proposed heavy expenditure at Napier, 100 beds being substituted for 150 and the cost reduced from £110,000 to about 60% of that sum.

In June 1931 it was noted with some interest that the Hastings levy was £3,566 or £1,500 less than that for the previous year.

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On June 14th at the meeting of the Hastings Chamber of Commerce a move was made to press for an increase in the Hastings and H.B. County representatives on the Board. Neither was successful although the Board favoured it as it related to the H.B. County but the Department disapproved.

It may be noted here that at this date there were 10 sisters and nurses at Hastings, there being 24 patients at the hospital. At Napier there were 25 sisters and nurses. During the previous month at Hastings 50 general patients had been admitted and 49 discharged, while 25 patients were admitted to the maternity section and 24 babies were born. To the outpatients department 64 cases had made 250 visits and there were 19 attendances at the antenatal clinic.

Hastings had settled down as a small general and maternity hospital of about 23 and 7 beds respectively, with an ante natal clinic and outpatients department in operation and with a prospect of future increased accommodation.

The Kelly Bequest

Doubts having arisen as to the meaning and intention of the following words in the will creating the trust viz: “for or towards the building, re-building, enlarging, altering, reinstating, repairing and maintaining the said hospital or any additions thereto… and in providing equipment, furniture, etc.” a legal opinion was obtained from Messrs. Logan Williams & White.

In effect it was this: –

1.   The Board was not compelled to expend all or any part of the money at once and had power to invest the trust monies and capitalise the interest and to expend the interest or any increases in any of the declared purposes of the trust.

2.   The Board was not authorised to spend any of the trust money in the general maintenance of the hospital. It was limited to expenditure on “the erection, repair and maintenance of the hospital buildings.”

3.  The Board is entitled to a subsidy of £ for £ less 10% the subsidy to be held on the same trust as the bequest but the Minister in certain circumstances may grant exemption as far as the last mentioned provision is concerned and the solicitors suggested that as to the subsidy the Board should apply to the Minister for such exemption. Subsequently the Board was advised that the Health Department had also obtained a legal opinion on the same question. In the main this agreed with that of the local solicitors.

Another Long Delay

Hastings Impatient

Proposals for the establishment of general hospital accommodation in Napier and Hastings had now been submitted by the Board to the Minister and the Department for approval, but many months passed before any finality was reached.

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From June onwards there was much correspondence and telegraphing between the Mayor of Hastings Mr. J.F. Roach and the Minister, resolutions by the Board and a deputation from the Board was met by him and the assistance of Messrs. Barnard and H.M. Campbell and A.E. Jull, M.P.s for Napier, Hawkes Bay and Waipawa respectively was obtained but no definite information as to the Minister’s attitude was received until September.

In the meantime application had been made to the Commissioner of Stamp Duties to remit the Estate duty on the Kelly bequest. The estate was certified at £37,498 and the estate duty assessed was £4,499 15s. 2d. There was no successor duty.

This application was refused, the Commissioner pointing out he had no discretionary power to make the remission.

The Solicitors informed the Board that mortgage investments in the estate were £34,435 and the solicitors estimated the amount available to the Board would be approximately £32,200.

On August 27th it was learned that a loan of £66,000 for the restoration of the Napier Hospital and the Nurses’ Home had been approved by the Local Bodies Loan Board.

The Minister Meets the Board

On September 14th 1931 the Minister of Health, now the Hon. A.J. Stallworthy met a deputation at Hastings re the provision of hospital accommodation at Napier and Hastings.

The Minister said the Board itself had not reached finality and was itself to blame for the delay in determining these matters. With special regard to the statement that “it was particularly resentful regarding no definite reply re accommodation for Hastings” he had these comments to make.

The Board, by resolution, had decided to erect the base hospital at Napier, but had no definite proposals put to him with regard to a general hospital at Hastings, and there was no provision for Hastings in the proposals submitted to the Loans Board, but when the Board did submit such definite proposals they would be given every consideration.

Long opposition to the rebuilding of the Napier Hospital was coming from Hastings and there was a demand that the base hospital should be at Hastings.

He submitted that a decision in these matters was primarily one for the Board, and upon its reaching him he would be pleased to render any further assistance possible.

At a Board meeting on September 16th, a County member said it was his view, and he thought that of all the other Board members, that if they got 100 beds at Napier the balance of 50 or 60 should go to Hastings.

In reply to one of the Minister’s statements it was pointed out that the Board Chairman previously, in an interview with the Minister had urged very emphatically that there should be adequate accommodation at Hastings.

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However, the Health Department had been quite definite, not only where the base hospital should be but also that there should be no general accommodation at Hastings.

The Board once again affirmed its previous resolutions that adequate accommodation should be provided at Hastings.

Finance a Stumbling Block

Kelly Bequest Tied Up

At the September 16th Board meeting it was reported the Kelly Bequest would not be available to the Board for some years.

A letter was received from the Health Department suggesting that the trust be administered by the Public Trustee and this was finally arranged, no charge being made in the circumstances.

The Minister of Health had also written to the Board re general accommodation at Hastings.

He referred to a suggestion by the Board Chairman that 35 to 50 beds should be provided at Hastings and also a statement made by Mr. McKee, a Board member, that £35,000 had been left to the Board, that it would be available almost immediately and was to be expended on the Memorial Hospital, and Dr. Wilson had indicated the money would be available for maintenance purposes. He understood the estate comprised first mortgage securities but there appeared to be doubts as to its real value.

He referred also to the legal opinions which held that the money could not be used for maintenance purposes. He went on to say “Apart from the utilisation of the ‘Kelly Bequest’ it is not clear what method of finance your Board contemplates in providing the proposed hospital accommodation at Hastings. There are furthermore other uncertain factors.”

I am not yet satisfied with the special assistance of the Kelly Bequest that your district should have two general hospitals within 12 miles of each other. Your Board will, understand that before I could approve of such provision I would have to be assured that no hospital for the district would fall upon the general body of taxpayers in other districts.

He referred to a resolution of the Hastings Chamber of Commerce against the £82,500 loan, and a monster petition against it and a demand for a general public hospital in Hastings with not less than 100 beds as the nucleus of a main hospital.

The Result of the Hastings Deputation

The position in some respects having now been clarified, we return to an account of the proceedings at the Hastings Deputation on September 15th when the petition was presented.

In reply to Mr. Duff, the Minister said he had approved of temporary accommodation for 50 beds at the Memorial Hospital, and did not know till recently that it had not been gone on with. On making inquiries he was informed by the Health Department that the medical opinion of the district was that sufficient accommodation could be provided there to meet the present needs and the temporary building there was not proceeded with.

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When he approved of the proposal he understood it was acceptable to the Board and to the people of Hastings. It was subsequently discovered that Mr. Allan, the building Inspector, looked into the position at Hastings, the Medical Superintendent who showed him round had just returned from his leave and did not know of the projected arrangements in all their bearings and there was a misunderstanding.

The Hastings petition, said to represent 10,000 people, pointed out that of the £30,000 which the Memorial Hospital cost £21,000 was contributed by the people of Hastings and the District, and asked whether Hastings was to receive an [a] hospital adequate to its means and whether Hastings people were to be saddled with the heavy cost of the expenditure proposed at Napier.

It also demanded a 100 bed hospital as the nucleus of a general hospital.

In reply the Minister pointed out he had no legal right to tell the Board what they would have to do. He could only say he was prepared to advise and to help.

The Board had asked for 150 beds at Napier and for no provision at Hastings, and he had intimated to the Board that the Napier beds must be reduced to 100, the Board to consider the claims of Hastings.

If a 50 bed hospital was approved it should not be taken for granted that it was the nucleus of a rival to the Napier hospital. The Department was out to help the people to receive their legitimate demands and if the Board submitted a proposal for Hastings it would be approved, but it was on the strength of the Kelly Bequest money being available that the claims of Hastings had been pressed. There was nothing definite to show that the money would be available for at least 4 years and he would have to be satisfied that the money was available before he would sanction its expenditure.

From this it was obvious that some financial basis had to be arranged. In the next few years certain schemes were suggested to bring this about but many came to nothing.

A Further Discussion by the Board

Following the Minister’s statement, the matter of general hospital at Hastings was discussed at a Board meeting on September 21st.

It was pointed out that the Minister had made it quite clear that the matter lay entirely in the hands of the Board. It remained with him to approve of it.

He blamed the Board for all the inactivity at Hastings and had plainly indicated he favoured 100 beds at Napier and if the Board put forward a reasonable plan he would approve of 50 beds for Hastings.

It was suggested again that the Memorial building at Hastings be used as a general hospital – it would provide for 45 beds – and other building provision be made for maternity cases and nurses, but it was mentioned this could not be done for three months. The Medical Superintendent stated there was accommodation at Hastings for twelve nurses and this would have to be increased to 24.

Finance to begin with was proposed in this way. In May 1928 Mrs. T.H.Lowry had given the Board £2,800 to establish a solarium at Napier. This was vetoed by the Health Department and later a new X-ray Department

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but these came to nothing, the money was still intact and nothing had been finalised with regard to it.

The following resolution was passed: –

“That the present Memorial Hospital Building at Hastings be immediately converted into a general hospital and that the necessary nurses’ accommodation, if any, be constructed there, and that suitable accommodation for maternity cases be otherwise provided.

Application was made to Mrs. Lowry to allow the £2,800 to be diverted for this purpose and at the October meeting she intimated her agreement provided the new building was of wood and the money be refunded from the Kelly Bequest within 2 years. To these conditions the Board consented and resolved to use the money for the Hastings Hospital as soon as could be arranged.

Another Department Hold up

Plans were accordingly prepared and submitted to the Director General of Health, now Dr. H.M. Watt. Subject to some minor alteration he expressed himself as satisfied with the plans, etc. but at a Board meeting on December 14th, a letter from him was received in which he said: –

“I desire to stress the importance of satisfactory financial arrangements both with regard to capital expenditure and future maintenance. As your Board doubtless realises in view of the provision being made at Napier the proposal to provide hospital accommodation at Hastings on the scale contemplated conflicts with the general policy of the Department of concentrating general hospital facilities as far as possible. In fact, the establishment and the maintenance of two moderately sized general hospitals within 14 miles of each other by excellent road would be warranted only in exceptional circumstances.

The chief condition to be satisfied however, and the one to which I trust your Board will give particular consideration is that no material additional cost to the Consolidated Fund and the general taxpayer is involved.

In forwarding application for the Minister’s consent therefore, please submit detailed estimates of the capital cost involved (including furnishing) and the method by which it is proposed to finance same.

I will also require to be furnished with estimates of maintenance cost and definite particulars of permanent revenue which will be available to ensure that the excess cost of maintaining two institutions as compared with one of similar accommodation will not fall on the public hands.

Dr. Watt, always opposed to hospital accommodation in Hastings was living well up to his reputation with regard hereto.”

This letter came as a surprise to the Board and Mr. McKee said that in Wellington when he asked Dr. Watt if he had any objection to make he had replied “No”. Mr. Duff thought that Dr. Watt’s points were raised for purely record purposes.

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It was resolved that another Board deputation interview the Minister.

At a meeting of the Hastings Chamber of Commerce on September 21st, a high tribute was paid to Messrs. McKee and Duff for their determined and conscientious work in pursuance of the object in view.

A Deputation to the Minister

Promise of Assistance

On Thursday February 11th, 1932, a deputation consisting of Dr. H.M. Wilson and Messrs. H.V. Hoadley, S.J. McKee and C. Duff was introduced by Mr. Campbell M.P. The minister not being as familiar with the circumstances as his predecessor, many incidents and arguments for some time back were repeated by members of the deputation whose object, of course, was to overcome the reasons against, as set out by Dr. Watt’s letter of December 14th, 1931.

They asked for an extension of the Hastings General Hospital to provide for another 20 beds, making in all 45. At the time there were 10 maternity and 22 general cases in the hospital.

It was explained extra nurses’ accommodation would also be required.

The Board’s architect estimated the cost at about £9,000 and it was proposed to provide this in the following manner: –

Advance on A/C of the Kelly bequest   £5000
Mrs. Lowry’s donation with interest   3000
The Misses McHardy’s gift including subsidy   1000

If there was a deficiency the Board was prepared to ask the Loans Board to allow it to make up such deficiency from the Loan of £66,500 approved for rebuilding at Napier.

The question of future maintenance was more difficult but the Deputation urged that it would be comparatively little and not out of proportion to the extra convenience and service to the people of the Southern end of the district.

The Minister said there were two questions for consideration: –

1.   How was the capital cost to be provided?
2.   How was the additional maintenance to be met?

He agreed there were special circumstances affecting Hastings. It already had an [a] hospital building. He thought the capital cost could be satisfactorily arranged provided the Loans Board agreed to certain alterations and he promised to assist in getting the consent of that Board.

At Mr. Campbell’s request and on Dr. Watt’s assurance that the plans were approved by the Department the Minister said he saw no reason why the matter should not be gone on with and the Board should call for tenders right away.

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At the Hospital Board meeting of February 15th, it was resolved that tenders for the work be invited immediately, and that the Loans Board be asked for permission to use the gifts of Mrs. Lowry and of the Misses McHardy for the purpose and that any deficiency that might arise be taken from the Napier Loan of £66,500, the whole to be refunded from the Kelly Bequest when available and it was decided to write to the Minister and thank him for his sympathetic reception of the deputation.

Accommodation Problems

At the Board’s meeting on February 15th, a letter was received from Dr. Comrie of Hastings stressing the urgent need for additional accommodation for in-patients at both Napier and Hastings.

On March 14th it was reported that a marquee used for accommodation of nurses at Hastings had been dismantled and with the assistance of Mr. McKee a house had been secured for this purpose.

The Maintenance Question still a Problem

The Board and especially the Hastings members were now congratulating themselves upon having at last got near finality but the position was not as good as it appeared to them. A letter was received from Dr. Watt stating in effect that no concrete proposals with regard to the future maintenance of the Hastings Hospital additions had as yet been supplied.

He stated that in the opinion of the department the extra maintenance required would be not less than £1,000 per annum, independent of local rates and taxation. As it had been suggested the amount derived from the Kelly Bequest would cover the additional annual cost involved, he asked to be informed of the estimated sum to be realised annually from the Kelly Bequest, and also when it was expected the proceeds would be paid over to the Board. Dr. Watt proceeded to emphasise what he had said previously.

“I wish to make it quite clear that so far as I am concerned, I will not recommend approval of the Hastings Hospital additions, or have any expenditure directed towards providing a general hospital at Hastings unless and until it is shown that no additional cost to local ratepayers or the Consolidated Fund is involved in the proposal as compared with the general hospital arrangements under which general hospital accommodation for the district was provided wholly at Napier.”

Part of this letter was referred to the Hastings Committee with power to act, and as the application to the Loans Board was still pending as to the remainder, action was deferred until the Board’s decision was known.

Review of the Financial Year 1931 – 1932

Estimates for 1932 – 1933

The Board’s estimates for the year 1932-3 showed £5,000 for building at Hastings (from the Napier Loan of £66,500) as against the Kelly Bequest, also £300 out of the ordinary capital levy a/c for tar sealing roadways at Hastings. The maintenance of the Hastings Hospital was estimated at £9,850 as against £8,232 for the previous year.

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At the time 7 maternity beds and 23 general beds were available at Hastings and Napier had 80 beds and it was anticipated there would be 150 by the end of that year.

In his Annual Report the Chairman, Mr. C.O. Morse, made reference to the following matters of interest to Hastings.

“The Hastings Hospital was opened during the year to accommodate general patients, and in April our general patients from that end of the district were transferred to Hastings. This hospital is now being used as a maternity and also as a general hospital and has apparently filled a long felt want of Hastings people and of the surrounding district. He mentioned the application still pending before the Loans Board and said it was anticipated that the work of enlarging the Hastings Hospital would be proceeded with at an early date.”

He proceeded to say: –

“During the year intimation was received by the Board that a magnificent bequest of approximately £35,000 had been left by the late Miss Henrietta Lavinia Kelly for the purpose of erecting any necessary buildings at the Hastings Memorial Hospital. It is this wonderful benefaction which has enabled the Board to contemplate the additions to the Memorial Hospital… it is expected that the revenue of this bequest will go far towards providing funds for the maintenance of the Memorial Hospital when completed.”

A Definite Estimate of Maintenance at Hastings

At its June meeting this estimate was considered by the Board. It amounted to £1,250 per annum.

It was pointed out that substantial savings would be effected as a set off as against this expenditure, the amount being estimated at £1,077 and therefore, the actual net additional cost per annum of these extra beds to the Board would be only £173.

The McHardy Home Maternity Nursing

The McHardy Home was now about to be re-opened and the Health Department put to the Board a proposal to establish a District Maternity Nursing Service covering the whole district.

The Department considered this would provide all the essential benefits with a saving of £1,000 to £1,500 per annum and suggested the matter was urgent as the Hastings Hospital was dangerously overcrowded.

The proposal did not appeal to the Board and the Hastings members saw it as an attempt to close the Hastings institution as a general hospital and make it again a purely maternity hospital.

The Department’s obvious intention was to make Hastings the Maternity Hospital and Napier the general Hospital for the district.

The McHardy Home was finally leased to Miss Field for one year with right of renewal, to be conducted as a maternity Home and this obstacle, if obstacle it was, to the extension of the general hospital at Hastings was removed.

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Report of Chairman and Medical Superintendent

Year Ending March 31st, 1933

At the above date the position relative to any extension of the Hastings Hospital was exactly the same, no finality having been attained.

In his report the Chairman said: –

“Our great problem throughout the year has been the matter of alterations and additions to the Hastings Hospital. Negotiations with the Health Department and Local Bodies Loans Board involving many deputations to the Minister, numerous conferences in Napier and Hastings and voluminous correspondence had so far failed to solve it.

The Loans Board refuses to sanction an advance of £5,000 from the Public Trustee as against the securities of the Kelly Estate. We are now seeking counsel’s opinion as to whether or not such sanction is necessary.”

He congratulated the Hastings members on their tenacity in the face of all this disappointment and trusted that in the current year the matter would be successfully concluded.

(The Hastings Borough Council when re-electing Messrs. C. Duff and S.J. McKee as their representatives also commended them for their exertion in the interests of the Hastings Hospital.)

During the year the Hastings Hospital benefitted [benefited] by three additional legacies from the late A.M. Georgetti £500, from the late Miss C.T. Anderson (of Kereru) £200, and from the late Miss M.T. Henry a property in Townsend Street, Hastings with a capital value of £670.

The Board members were still strongly in favour of pushing the matter of the additions at Hastings and for the ensuing year £5000 as against the Kelly bequest for this purpose was again placed on the estimates.

It was reported that the actual amount then available from Mrs. Lowry’s donation was £2,880 19s. 9d. and from that of the Misses McHardy £872 15s. 11d.

The estimated maintenance at Hastings for the past year had been £7,005 and the actual cost was £6,367. The estimate for the coming financial year was £6,665.

The Medical Superintendent reported for the same year 1932-3 on the Hastings Hospital and gave the following statistics for the Outpatients Department: –

Cases treated 1931-32 = 660   1932-3 = 829
Attendances 1931-32 = 2665   1932-3 = 2014

The in-patients were:  –

1931-2 247 males   142 females   Total 487
1932-3 233 males   233 females   Total 466

Operations: –

1931-2 Major 142   Minor 232   Total 374
1932-3 Major 130   Minor 189   Total 319

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The Massage Department showed: –

Outpatients 1931-2 108   1932-3 96
Inpatients 1931-2 52   1932-3 12

Number of Massage Treatments 1931-2 1735   1932-3 1158
Number of Electrical Treatments 1931-2 1219   1932-3 576

The average days stay and daily number of patients resident were 10 and 8.94 for the first mentioned year and 11.51 and 9.18 for the second.

The Report went on: –

“Re Memorial Hospital

Conditions at this hospital remain almost exactly what they were 12 months ago. The institution has continued to provide accommodation for both maternity cases and general cases. These two groups have continued to be completely separated from one another both as regards the actual accommodation and the staff.

The general side has been continuously busy and full throughout the year. It will be noticed that with accommodation for 25 beds the daily average number of patients has been 23.71, leaving practically no margin at all.

The demand on the beds has been great as evidenced by the waiting lists it was impossible to avoid. The work done has been excellent throughout despite difficulties and inconveniences and the Board is indebted to Sister Sellar for the zeal and ability she has displayed.

On the maternity side the number of cases attended has been practically the same as in the preceeding year. The work of this department has been maintained at the same high standard as in the past under the supervision of Sister Owen.”

Chairman’s Report 1933-4

In the report of the Chairman Mr. C.O. Morse for the above year submitted at a meeting on April 16th, 1934 the following references were made relative to the Hastings Hospital:-

“Again I must state that our great problem throughout the year has been the question of additions to the Hastings Hospital. Apart from negotiations with the Health Department a deputation from the Board awaited on the Local Bodies Loans Board to present the case regarding accommodation at this hospital. It is to be regretted our effort again met with disappointment but now I have every reason to believe that our latest efforts will, in some degree bear fruit. Again I congratulate the Hastings Sub-Committee on the fixity of purpose shown and their untiring efforts to bring a satisfactory conclusion to the ever burning question of the provision of 50 beds.”

Representations had been made to the Minister of Health the previous week and the chairman stated he had every reason to feel that in the near future there would be a happy conclusion to the problems dealt with. However, similar statements had often been made before.

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The cost of additions at Hastings, together with equipment was now estimated at £10,000, the whole of which being still covered by donations and bequests, and it was mentioned that the Hastings Hospital had rendered much greater service during the past year.

The patients’ fees amounted to £1,716, a £200 increase over the previous year, and it was estimated they would increase by a further £200 in the ensuing year insomuch that the number of general beds was to be substantially increased.

In the following year 1934-35 finality was at last reached in the matter of extensions to the Hastings Hospital to provide additional beds for general patients.

The Health Department remained firm in its opposition unless there was an absolute assurance that no burden would be cast on the taxpayers for either capital or maintenance cost. An anonymous donation of £4000 was the biggest factor in bringing about this satisfactory termination.

The Board resolved that one ward should be called the Henrietta Kelly Ward and another the Williams Ward.

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A Hastings General Hospital becomes a Reality


The aim of the Hawke’s Bay Fallen Soldiers’ Memorial Committee formulated in 1919, materialised in 1934 and in his annual statement to the Board on April 12th, 1935 the Chairman, Mr. Morse reported as follows: –

“I have to report that all our difficulties in connection with additions to the Hastings Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital building have been overcome, and the work of enlarging the Hospital is proceeding satisfactorily.

At this date the new maternity block and the new nurses’ home have been completed and work in connection with the enlargement of the general end is well in hand.”

At this date there were 29 patients in the general section.

Up to date Radio Equipment

It was reported that a piano had been purchased and a radio equipment with 80 earphones, of which 77 were special pillow phones and were the last word in receivers, making it the most modern radio installation of its kind in the Dominion had been provided at the Hastings Hospital.

The money necessary for this was obtained partly by public subscriptions organised by Uncle Ed of 2.ZL. This realised £208 and was subsidised by £42 19s. 2d. from the original Hastings Memorial Hospital Fund.

Further Improvements at Hastings Considered

At this meeting on April 16th the matter of the Outpatients block and the enlargement of the operating theatre at Hastings was discussed. It was agreed both were essential and would be done as soon as finance permitted.

Having regard to the earthquake damage which the Board’s property had suffered it was decided to ask the Government for a grant of £10,000. After some negotiation this met with no success and £17,000 was borrowed in the open market at 3½% payable in 15 years.

In 1937 it was considered that £10,000 was still required for restoration. In 1939 Hawke’s Bay earthquake Government loans became interest free.

A Drastic Change in the Board’s Constitution

In May 1935 in the Hospital Board elections a block of members favourable to the interests of Hastings secured all the H.B. County seats. Messrs. R. Harding, H.V. Hoadley, J.B. Campbell, C. Lassen and Dr. H.M. Wilson each polled over 1600 votes, while Messrs. N.P. Erickson, J. Williamson and C. King, the Northern candidates each received under 1000.

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With two Hastings representatives Messrs. S.J. McKee and C. Duff making 7, there was a good majority over the 3 Napier members, Messrs. C. Morse, A.E. Bedford and Dr. A.J. Berry.

Opening the Hastings Additions

On June 25th 1935 the opening ceremony was performed by the Hon. A.J. Young, Minister of Health, and Mr. C. Morse the Board Chairman presided.

This event marked the realisation of the desires and hopes of long years, the establishment of a maternity home and general hospital in Hastings.

Mr. Morse welcomed the Minister and paid a high compliment to the architects and the builder for the manner in which the work had been designed and carried out.

He also paid a tribute to the Hastings and County representatives for the wonderful fight they had put up and without those particular representatives they might not have had the additions today and he considered had it not been for the efforts of those who toiled in the early stages there would have been no hospital there and nothing to hinge to. He referred to the work of Mr. George Ebbett and of Messrs. Hart, Coleburne, Perrin and others who were really the foundation members of the movement.

Mr. G.A. Maddison, the Mayor, thanked the Minister for his co-operation and mentioned that he had also opened the original building on Anzac Day 1928. He pointed out that almost £60,000 had been voluntarily contributed and made special reference to the donors of some large sums and also to one of £4000 from an unknown source. It was really this last that made the extensions possible.

He paid a special tribute to the Hastings members for the fight they had put up, to Uncle Ed. (Mr. E.H. Culver) whose lone handed effort provided the radio and also the work of Mrs. Tuohy.

Mr. H.M. Campbell, M.P. said all were pleased to know the hospital had at last nearly reached finality. He understood some minor details still needed Government attention and as the whole bulk of the funds so far had been subscribed it was up to the Government to provide funds for these.

He mentioned that one of the conditions made by the anonymous donor of £4000 was that a Plunket Nurse should have charge of the Maternity department. He favoured this and hoped it would be arranged.

Mr. C. Duff said the occasion really marked the turning point for Hastings insofar as the hospital was concerned. As from today it is officially recognised as a general hospital. He traced the early history dealing with the establishment of the institution and went on to say:-

“For the moment our work is finished and in my judgment the completion of the work is a vindication of right over might. The right of the people must be paramount. Because the people needed the hospital no Minister, no department, no power on earth could prevent the people’s rights being realised. That makes it a momentous occasion.”

We said the work was not quite finished but no more beds were being asked for.

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They did want, however, a larger operating theatre, an outpatients’ department and an antenatal clinic. He mentioned that bequests had been made totalling £57,000 and in conclusion paid a tribute to the local doctors who had worked so well under great difficulties.

The Minister when speaking said that the matter of a larger theatre and outpatients department was already being considered and would be dealt with by himself in such manner as will enable you to have them at the earliest moment compatible with the financial position. He anticipated no difficulty in getting the antenatal clinic.

He went on to trace the history of the Hastings institution from its inception to the present day and then declared the extensions open, satisfied they would do good work curing the sick and healing the injured.

Mrs. Tuohy was honoured by being asked to plant a tree in recognition of her work and services as the collector of a large sum of money towards the cost of the institution. The Minister assisted and Mrs. Tuohy was presented with the spade autographed by the Minister and others.

Progress During 1935-36

There is not much of importance to record during this year when Mr. C. Lassen became the Chairman of the Board.

A legacy of £100 was received from the Trustees of the Estate of the late Mr. E.D. Collison.

Extra maternity accommodation became available in 1935 and in 1936 provision was made for Karitane work with a Plunket Nurse at the head of this department.

Progress 1936-7

At the end of March the hospital had 49 patients in the general section, 45 being about the average during the previous year.

Outpatients inquiry offices, Charitable Aid office and operating block were provided in this year at an approximate cost of £13,000 financed out of the Kelly Bequest.

Progress 1937-38

At the annual meeting on April 11th, 1938 the Chairman Mr. Lassen said the need for more beds was very great.

In a report he detailed at length why the average cost per bed in Hastings was greater compared with other hospitals in the same class, the principal reason appearing to be the inclusion of the cost of maternity beds with general beds at Hastings, and the fact that the cost of dispensing, dressings, etc. for outpatients was not yet separated from that of inpatients.

He said the best way to reduce the cost per occupied bed was to provide the much needed accommodation for additional patients, more particularly a ward for children.

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Past Achievements and Future Programme – 1938

In an election manifesto issued in May 1938 it was noted: –

1.   A new block containing an operating theatre and outpatients Department had been provided.
2.   Nurses had been provided with an up-to-date swimming bath.

For the future the following programme was set out.

1.   A new home for the trained nursing staff.
2.   A children’s Ward.
3.   Modern X-ray equipment.
4.   Further recreational facilities for the nursing staff.

The new Board was the same as in 1935 except that for Hastings Mr. W.E. Bate replaced Mr. C. Duff (deceased).

Progress During 1938-9

A Loan Proposal

By the next annual report a modern X-ray plant had been installed and the necessary machines and appliances for a massage department had been acquired.

During the year plans, etc. had been prepared for the erection at Hastings of a new nurses block, recreation hall, children’s ward, medical officer’s residence and a boiler house. To complete the necessary buildings and carry out certain works at Napier it was proposed to apply to the Loans Board for permission to borrow approximately £87,000.

Maintenance at Hastings was estimated at £24,445 for the year, greater than that at Napier in 1924 which was £15,000 odd, though it had risen to £60,000 in 1937.

Progress During 1939-40

The war had now intervened and some of the contemplated works were held up but at Hastings, quarters for the house surgeon, temporary accommodation for nurses and alterations to provide a splint room and nurses’ change rooms had commenced and were being proceeded with.

An additional X-ray plant and accessories also diathermy and anaesthetic apparatus and violet ray machines had also been acquired.

Big Extensions Planned

Dealing with the proposals the report considered on April 5th 1940 continued: –

New buildings to a total value of £35,580 will be constructed at Hastings subject to Ministerial approval.

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Installations estimated to cost £6,000 will be carried out by the Board’s staff making a total expenditure of about £41,580.

The works include the Nurses’ Home, boiler house, children’s ward and the installations are the first portion of a comprehensive scheme.

Tenders accepted are as follows: –

Nurses’ Home £17,539
Children’s Ward £14,136
Boiler House £3,851 10s. 0d.

The Chairman, Mr. Lassen, said that in discussions with the Health Department it was deemed wise that the Board should plan for future extensions and this had been kept in view.

The report then went into more detail and described the various works and concluded:

“In addition to the work outlined, plans are now being completed with the department for a new ante natal clinic estimated to cost £1,100. The new clinic will be adjacent to the maternity block and will release three further beds for maternity purposes. At the present the antenatal work is being carried out in the maternity block.

Work on these plans began in January 1941 and when completed they will form the nucleus of a comprehensive scheme for enlarging and improving the facilities at the hospital and so will make full provision for the future.

In 1941 Mr. W.E. Bate became chairman of the Board, but War regulations have now practically prohibited the importation of equipment and also all constructional operations other than for war purposes.

The Board members representing the Northern end of the district have long since become fully reconciled to the existence of a main hospital at Hastings and all the members work in harmony and concord in their endeavour to be fair to both Napier and Hastings.

The hospital, maternity home and all the amenities provided by the Board in conjunction therewith, have justified their existence many times over. They have been the means of avoiding much expense and inconvenience and countless journeys from Hastings to Napier and back and equally as many from Napier to the Hospital Hill.

This is a record of the actions, proceedings and negotiations undertaken to give effect to an idea which was born as far back as 1906. Development to its present stage required the time and labour and thought of numerous hands and brains over many years.

Its pathway was arduous, difficult and troublesome, and it is hoped this will enable a new generation which has already arisen, and those to come hereafter to acquire at least some knowledge of the difficulties, perplexities and disappointments which it was necessary to overcome throughout the years to bring the Hawke’s Bay Fallen Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital at Hastings to its present satisfactory position.

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1941 – 1945 : War Years

Various emergency measures were undertaken during this period for the safety of patients and staff and the continuance of hospital services, with the erection of air-raid shelters and the establishment of first aid posts; and great service was rendered by voluntary workers who gave their time and energies to the needs of the hospitals. Many members of the staff were away overseas and served in the armed forces with honour and distinction.

In view of the wartime conservation of building materials, many projects are deferred, consideration being given only to those which were urgently required. Steam services were improved, and an antenatal clinic established, the finance for the latter being made available through the Kelly Bequest. The Clinic was available for use in November 1941. The first floor of the new Nurses’ Home was occupied in March 1942. Enlargement of the Laboratory and additions to the Bulk Store were carried out in this year. The new Children’s Ward and Nurses’ Home were officially opened on 27th March, 1942.

Miss I. Russell, who had been Sister in Charge for many years, was designated as Matron of Memorial Hospital in April 1943, and held this post until her retirement in May 1956.

Tentative plans for the proposed new hospital were submitted by the Architect in March 1943.

During 1944 it was agreed that preliminary arrangements could be made for the erection of a new Domestic Services Block – this was completed in 1950.

The Board resolved in March 1945, to apply to the Local Authorities Loans Board for sanction to borrow £32,000 for the erection of the Domestic Services Block, and consent was received in August of this year.

In October 1943, Dr. C.D. Costello, Radiologist was appointed to Memorial Hospital.

Mr W.E. Bate was elected Chairman of the Board in June, 1941.

1945 – 1946

During 1945, in order to relieve the congestion in the Children’s Ward, plans were completed for an extension to that Ward, and the work was well advanced by March 1946. These additions when completed would accommodate another 12 patients, the major cost being borne by the Kelly Bequest. This Bequest has enabled the Board to carry out a large number of projects at Hastings without having to resort to loans or a claim on levy and subsidy. The Bequest was almost exhausted, and future development will therefore need to be financed through normal channels.

The rapid expansion of the hospital work at Hastings, combined with the probability that one of the private maternity homes was likely to close down, forced the Board to give urgent consideration to the provision of more maternity accommodation at the Memorial Hospital. The birth rate had shown a sharp increase and the maternity annexe at the hospital had been severely overtaxed. Plans for this project were finalised during the year and approved by the Health Department and Public Works Department and the raising of a loan of £20,000 was authorised by the Local Government Loans Board for this purpose. This work was commenced during the year.

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A further projected work at Hastings was another wing of the Nurses’ Home which had become necessary through inability to house the present Nursing Staff in relation to the enlarged Children’s Ward and the new Maternity Block. Plans for this project were in preparation.

In view of the considerable amount of surgery and the larger operations department, a third medical resident officer was recommended by the Visiting Medical Staff and this would entail the erection of another Medical Officer’s residence.

In order to give the Hastings district some relief during the period when the demand for maternity beds had been so acute, the Board negotiated with Sister M. Cooper to take over her Home for the remainder of her lease which was due to expire in June 1947. Sister Cooper was about to close the Home in December 1945 and had this been allowed to occur, a very great problem in Hastings would have resulted. As a result of these negotiations, the Home in 1945 was running under the control of the Board and rendering an excellent service.

Dr. L.W. Broughton was appointed Assistant Medical Superintendent on 1st January, 1946.

1947 – 1948

1947 saw the commencement of construction work on the Domestic Services Block for which a loan of £32,000 was authorised by the Local Government Loans Board. The annexe to the existing Maternity Ward to provide an additional 12 beds, was almost completed, and a further loan of £20,000 for this work was authorised.

During this year it was proposed to apply for a further loan to provide a new wing to the Nurses’ Home and Tutorial Block; the Health Department had agreed to the building of a two-storey wing to provide approximately 60 beds.

1948 – 1949

During 1948 progress was being made with the construction of the Domestic Services Block and Nurses Tutorial Block, and it was hoped to commence work on additions to the X-ray Department and the new wing to the Nurses’ Home.

The official opening of the original hospital took place on Anzac Day, 1928 and a large framed photograph of this function was presented to the Board in 1949 by Mr. G. Ebbett who was Chairman of the original Committee of Management from 1920 to 1928.

Negotiations were entered into for the purchase of the Leslie Property and also a section fronting McLeod Street, belonging to Mrs. Moss. The General Purposes Committee of the Board recommended the erection of additional maternity accommodation to provide a further 8 beds. Also, during this year, tennis courts were provided for the use of the nursing staff. Tenders were also called for additions to the X-ray Department and the new Domestic Services Block was officially opened on 14th December, 1949.

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Negotiations for the purchase of the Blake-Greene property were finalised in 1949; it was suggested that this property might be a suitable site for future maternity accommodation.

On 17th October 1949, the Board resolved that the architect be asked to prepare a survey of the Memorial Hospital, showing the potentialities of the site for future hospital accommodation; it was also resolved that approval of the Health Department be sought for the preparation of sketch plans for a 60 bed maternity annexe on the site of the Blake-Greene and Moss properties, the present maternity annexe then to be incorporated in the general hospital.

The first Board Meeting to be held at Memorial Hospital, took place on 14th December 1949, followed by the official opening of the new Domestic Services Block, and the celebration of the 21st Anniversary of the opening of the original Hawke’s Bay Fallen Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital, on Anzac Day, 1928.

1950 – 1951

Ultimate Development of the Hospital:

Consideration was given this subject during 1951 in consultation with the Medical Staff and Architects, and with the assistance of officers of the Health Department. Being a matter of such magnitude, it was inevitable that a certain amount of division of opinion should arise, and it was important that no hasty decision should be made. All of those to whom the Board looked for advice were most co-operative and constructive in their proposals. Ideas were from time to time modified, and finally, at a special meeting of the Board held at Hastings, a plan was adopted which provided for a series of multi-storied blocks to be erected in gradual replacement of the original structure built prior to 1935 and phased over a period of years with the view that the first block of approximately 120 beds and appropriate servicing, with additional theatre blocks, should proceed immediately.

The major plan envisaged further extensions to the present Nurses’ Home as required, and the erection of a new Maternity Home on the Blake-Green property which was recently purchased. It was hoped these buildings would take their place in the subsequent phasing of the whole project.

At a special meeting of the Board held on 30th March 1950, which was attended by officers of the Health Department, senior executive officers of the Board, and the architects, the following short-term recommendations were made: –

1. The erection of an additional general ward above the present Children’s Ward, to provide 27 beds.

2. The adaptation of the present maternity section of Memorial Hospital for the accommodation of general patients, (these two projects would provide between 70 and 80 extra general beds),

3. The provision of a maternity hospital on the site to be purchased from the Blake-Greene estate, and that of Mrs. Moss adjoining the hospital grounds.

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The Visiting Medical Staff recommended that the general bed state of the hospital be immediately increased to 150, that it be further increased to 250 in the near future, and that any further expansion should be limited to 400 beds with all necessary ancillary services. It was stated that the general beds are used to the maximum; the established bed state is 86, and 106 patients are accommodated. The beds in the maternity annexe were also used to capacity.

Dr. H.M. Wilson stated that he was on the Board at the time of the earthquake, and then set to work to get the Memorial Hospital established. Dr. R. Cashmore had established a fracture clinic there, the work of which has to be performed in the theatre block which was most unsatisfactory for the purpose. Social Security he said, had done a good thing in giving free X-rays and laboratory services, but the Memorial Hospital Laboratory has to serve the needs of 25,000 people and is far too small for this purpose. The Hastings people did not want to come into Napier for treatment, and the medical men of Hastings want some definite buildings here. He appealed to the Departmental officers to give them the buildings they asked for.

The Departmental officers were asked to indicate the policy of their department with regard to having two hospitals of approximately the same size within 12 miles of each other, with duplication of services such as laboratory, X-ray, etc.

Mr. Bate pointed out that any hospital having a full range of surgical accommodation must have a laboratory, X-ray and other services, but those specialised services that can be given from the base laboratory at Napier will be continued to be given there. Bulk dispensary stores will continue to be held in Napier. He mentioned also, that provision is being made in the 1950/51 estimates for extensions to the Physiotherapy Department at Memorial Hospital.

Dr. Taylor in reply stated that since his appointment to the Health Department in 1942, there had been some stimulation of feeling between Napier and Hastings; there has possibly been an increase in the population of Hastings, and he has noticed that the average day’s stay of patients at Memorial Hospital is 14.5 as compared with 20 at Napier Hospital, which substantiates the statement that the chronic cases are being sent to Napier. He went on to say that when the Department knows how much can be allocated for capital works during the next three years, an attempt will be made to apportion it in accordance with priorities for the whole of New Zealand. With regard to the establishment of specialist services, the approach might be that when priorities are established consideration might be given to catching up on the base hospitals, and the question arises as to which will be the base hospital for this district. He was not prepared to say where the base hospital should be.

It was resolved that the Board seek permission of the Hon. Minister of Health to prepare plans for a general ward above the present Children’s Ward, the erection of a maternity block of 60 beds, or at least 40 beds, and for the adaptation of the present maternity annexe for general beds.

In May 1950, Departmental approval was received for the preparation of sketch plans for a new maternity block of 40 beds, and for the adaptation of the present maternity annexe for the accommodation of general patients when the new maternity block is completed.

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In June of 1950 the Director-General advised that preparation of sketch plans for the ultimate development of Memorial Hospital should be deferred in the meantime, and the Board resolved that as soon as the proposals for the development of the hospital are formulated, a deputation from the Board wait upon the Hon. Minister of Health to pursue the matter in terms of the Board’s previous decision.

1950 – 1951

Under Mr. Harding’s Notice of Motion at this meeting, the previous resolution of March 30th, 1950 was rescinded, and the Board resolved that “immediate application be made to the Health Department for permission to prepare sketch plans of a suitable block of approximately 100 to 120 beds for general male and female medical and surgical patients at Memorial Hospital, to be built to avoid loss of existing hospital space, these measures being dictated by the extremely urgent medical and surgical needs of the Hastings community, and being in accordance with the urgent and unanimous representations of the whole of the Medical Staff of Memorial Hospital.

It was resolved in July 1950 that the Board prepare a ten year plan covering the development of all the Board’s institutions and to provide in the case of Hastings at least 250 general beds, and at Napier at least 350 general beds, besides in each case the necessary maternity and specialist departments. Following this, the Director General suggested that planning for the next 10 years should be based on the development of Napier Hospital to 350 beds and Hastings to 250 beds, and that this total of 600 beds might be phased to a total of 650 beds in 20 years; also that in planning for Hastings the question of priority for general medical and surgical beds should be favourably considered.

The Board continued to pursue its recommendations to the Health Department.

To relieve the overcrowding in general wards, the medical committee recommended a temporary ward of 30 beds, and a plan was submitted by the architect for a light construction building, the estimated cost being £8,000. The plan was approved by the Board and forwarded to the Health Department for permission to erect this ward which was completed in 1952. A new wing to the Nurses Home was completed towards the end of 1951, the contract price being £54,657.

At the special meeting of the Board on 11th April 1951 at Memorial Hospital, the architects’ proposals on the future development of the hospital were received and it was resolved to apply for consent to prepare sketch plans of the proposals. Departmental approval to the preparation of working drawings for a 5 storey 150 bed ward block was received during August, 1952.

Acquisition of Properties:

In Hastings an area of 6 acres formerly owned by the Blake-Greene estate was purchased, and also a section of one acre fronting McLeod Street from Mrs. Moss. Opposite the hospital a property of 8¾ acres was acquired from Mr. Leslie for future hospital extension.

Additional Ward:

The very serious congestion of patients which had been a feature of the Memorial Hospital for some years past, had continued to be an anxiety to the Board, and especially to the medical and nursing staffs. The position during

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the year became so acute that Dr. J.A. Meade of the Division of Hospitals visited Hastings and inspected the hospital, conferring with members of the Board and Medical Staff. As a matter of urgency, the Board was able to arrange for the contractors to the Nurses Home to submit a tender which was approved by the Ministry of Works, and work was commenced immediately on the erection of a 32 bed ward for female patients at a cost of £13,758.

Orthopaedic Block

The Board and the community of Hawke’s Bay witnessed a most encouraging example of spontaneous community spirit during 1951. The Junior Chamber of Commerce in Hastings became aware of the need for better arrangements for the treatment of orthopaedic cases, and more particularly of crippled children, and without any urging, but entirely on their own initiative, launched a series of well-organised efforts for the purpose of raising the funds with which these amenities might be provided. In this they worked in liaison with the Board, and the Architects who at this stage worked in an honorary capacity, and with the Medical Staff. Their original target was £2500, but their final achievement was the magnificent sum of £4135. The Health Department were inspired by this grand effort to recast the somewhat modest plans which had been under consideration in the earlier stages of the appeal, with the result that plans were almost completed at the end of the year for the Orthopaedic Block, to be conducted in conjunction with the Outpatients Department.


Also at this time, the Board’s Honorary Medical Consultant in Hastings, Dr. H.M. Wilson, received the distinction of being awarded the Order of the British Empire, a tribute primarily to the high distinction and eminence to which Dr. Wilson has attained, and a tribute to the contribution he made to the Memorial Hospital which he has served assiduously since it was established.


Development of hospital Services:

In his memorandum to the Board on the development of hospital services in Hawke’s Bay, the Chairman, Mr. W.E. Bate, stated that the present site and adjoining land already owned by the Board in Hastings, would provide ample room within a quarter of a mile from the borough boundary at that time, for development for all time.

He envisaged the gradual evacuation of the present small crowded wards which would be turned over for use as splint rooms, storage, emergency or examination rooms, subsidiary departments, offices, etc. It has for some years, he said been a reproach to this Board that there should be only 94 established beds at Hastings Memorial Hospital to serve the population of that district which had increased to 23,792 within the area. It serves a very much greater population when it is borne in mind that outside the urban areas the land is closely settled and a large number of populous Maori pas are established there. This acute need has been fully recognised by the Health Department who have encouraged the development of a hospital on modern lines adequate to the needs of the district, and along the lines indicated in the following paragraph: –

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(a)   Phasing of 300-400 bed hospital on orderly lines as suggested by the Health Department officers, to consist of: –

i.   Ward accommodation for surgical and medical cases.
ii.   Theatres, physiotherapy, dispensary, laboratory, X-ray, O.P.D. and administration.
iii.   It seems likely that from progress already made the specialty of orthopaedics may come to be based at Hastings. So far as E.N.T. cases are concerned, it seems likely that each hospital may find it convenient to deal with its own cases.
iv.   Further nursing and staff accommodation must be provided pari passu with the ward development.
v.   Boilerhouse and steam services are already planned and built, having regard to such a development, and recreational areas for staff are adequate.
vi.   Maternity: the present annexe of 28 beds will soon be insufficient. There are at present no private maternity homes in Hastings. An excellent site adjoining the main nurses’ home belongs to the Board, and is available for a maternity home when required.


Hastings Development Plan

On 12th, 13th and 14th May, 1952, the Chairman discussed proposals with the Officers of the Health Department, together with the Board’s Architect, Mr. S.G. Chaplin and presented his report, portion of which follows: –

It was evident that a good deal of constructive consideration had been given to the preliminary drawings for the four-storey 120-bed block at Hastings by the Director-General personally in consultation with Dr. Meade and Mr. Butcher. They pointed out, quite correctly, that if the first phase were built, as at present planned, the Board was obviously committed to completion of the whole development as now envisaged, that is to say, a lengthy facade of three large blocks longitudinally placed facing Omahu Road. It was therefore necessary before the final phase was commenced, to decide whether that was in fact the best type of ultimate development of the hospital. After considerable consideration, it was evident that this planning had certain disadvantages, such as:

(a)   The remoteness of the wings from domestic services, Theatre Block and other departments,
(b)   the consequent added work and strain upon nursing and other personnel,
(c)   the inability to get patients back from Theatre to their beds, without some delay, thus tending to create a problem which might involve recovery rooms near the theatre block as an alternative to the infinitely better course of the patient being returned immediately to his own ward sister.
(d)   the multiplicity of lift services necessitated by the present plan.
(e)   the difficulty of communication laterally between wards without resort to lifts

and several other points.

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Consideration was then given to an altered plan of a ‘T’ shaped hospital of two 5 storey ward blocks, 30 beds each, giving a total of 300 beds; and to provide Theatre, Physiotherapy, Laboratory, Administration and possibly other ancillary departments. This would also be closer to the domestic services and lift services would be centralised and probably reduced in number. After full discussion, this improved plan was approved in principle.


In July 1952, Mr. Robert Harding, deputy-Chairman of the Board, and Chairman of the Hastings General Purposes Committee, announced that he was making on behalf of himself and his wife, a gift of £12,000 for the erection of a recreational hall for nurses at the Memorial Hospital. This magnificent gift was received and accepted by the Board with profound gratitude. Plans were immediately prepared and the foundation stone laid on 6th May, 1953; the Hall was completed the following year.

Ward and Orthopaedic Accommodation

The new 31 bed ward for female patients was completed at a cost of £15,532 and a contract was let for the building of the Orthopaedic Block, estimated to cost £13,296. The Orthopaedic Block was officially opened on 9th September 1953.

Development of Hospitals

Preliminary planning was brought forward a stage further, with the architects preparing working drawings for consideration.

In October 1952, approval was received from the Health Department to erect additions to the Nurses’ Home at a cost of £68,818, to accommodate nursing staff required for the expanding hospital. Permission was also received to increase House Surgeon accommodation. The 32 bed temporary ward was completed during 1952.

The situation regarding maternity accommodation in Hastings was becoming more serious, and in 1953 the Board resolved to make further representations to the Department of Health with a view to providing a supplementary ward of at least 20 beds. During 1954 it was decided to remove the home on the Blake-Greene property and re-erect it adjacent to the maternity ward. This was duly carried out, and the St. Aubyn Street Home abandoned as a maternity home.


As a result of the re-erection of the Blake-Greene house, the hospital was now equipped with 42 maternity beds, which it was estimated would serve the district for several years.

During the visit of the Honourable Minister of Health in 1954, the proposed building programme was discussed with him. It was recognised that in relation to the major building, there would have to be built a Nurses Home, Boilerhouse and other services. The Minister advised that these proposals were to be discussed by the Hospital Works Committee in the near future, and until then, no further action could be taken by the Board. Approval was received in July of this year to prepare sketch plans for the erection of a 4½ storey ward block, central circulating block, a single-storey administration block, Nurses Home of 80 bedrooms and extensions to Boilerhouse.

A preliminary loan of £660,000 was authorised in February 1955, the first issue of £150,000 being raised by public issue. This amount was required to be raised before approval could be given to the erection of the proposed ward block. At a meeting of the Board in May, 1956, the Chairman

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made reference to the development envisaged. Details, plans, working drawings and structural details of the main 5 storey block were complete; the plans which the Board hoped to submit to tender at an early date would comprise the 5-storey ward block including, at that time, maternity; also medical, surgical and theatre units and other services. In addition there would be a service block and a single-storey administration block. He appealed to the people of the district to make an effort to complete the raising of the loan to enable the project to be commenced at an early date.

The consent of the Honourable Minister of Health was received during 1955 for the supply of boilers, and the contract for this was accepted from A. and G. Price at a cost of £20,037; and also in this year additions were commenced to the Nurses’ Home, estimated to cost £8,260. Boilerhouse equipment costing £23,575 was to be installed by A. & T. Burt Ltd. and the contract for the erection of the boilerhouse was let to Romanes & Son, both these contracts being commenced in 1958/59.


The Chairman, Mr. W.E. Bate was awarded the Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, in June 1955.


During 1956 contracts were let for the new medical officers flats for £1863; and for Orderlies Quarters £8964. Accommodation for staff was becoming an urgent problem in view of the expansion of hospital services.

Consideration was also being given to the laying out of grounds, and road formation.

A special meeting of the Board was held at Memorial Hospital to consider siting of the proposed new hospital. It was agreed at the next meeting in August 1956, that the building be sited in the north corner of the present property, and that the Leslie Block be reserved for further maternity accommodation.

During 1957 the architect commenced preparing plans for a proposed new Nurses Home, which would be necessary in preparation for the staffing of the new ward block.  The architect also commenced preparation of working drawings for the new Store and Mortuary.

On 4th December, 1957, consent was received for the expenditure of £584,977 on the erection of the Ward and Administration Blocks; the building contract of W.M. Angus Ltd. was accepted, the heating services to be undertaken by A. & T. Burt. The work was commenced in January 1958, ground surveys having been completed and proved satisfactory.


During 1956 the death occurred of Mr. R. Harding, who was deputy Chairman of the Board and Chairman of the Hastings General Purposes Committee. He had made several magnificent gestures for the welfare of the nursing staff at Memorial Hospital. Mr. Harding was awarded the O.B.E. in the New Year’s Honours.

Dr. D.A. Ballantyne was appointed Honorary Physician in New Zealand to H.M. the Queen, in August, 1956.

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July 1957 saw the death of Dr. R. Cashmore, Senior Surgeon, who had been on the Visiting Staff since 1930, also W. Reeve, Physician, who had been connected to the hospital for many years, died in September of this year.

Miss I. Russell, Matron of Memorial Hospital, retired on 31st May, 1956, after many years service, and Miss E.M. Hall was appointed her successor.

1957 – 1958

Development of Hospital

The long-delayed programme for the expansion of Memorial Hospital has to some extent matured since 1957. Plans for a new hospital to be built by phases were finalised, after some years of discussion, debate and modification. A contract was let for the first phase consisting of a 5-storey block providing three medical and surgical wards, theatres and other services, together with a lift and services block and an administration block. The building contract was let to Messrs. W.M. Angus Ltd. for £497,837, and the heating contract to Messrs. A. & T. Burt Ltd. for £52,081. Work was commenced in January 1958. A feature of interest was the construction and lowering of the foundation for the lift and services block in caisson form, to a final depth of 18 ft. by a procedure not previously carried out in New Zealand on such a large scale.

Contracts were also let to S. Romanes and Son for the erection of the Boiler House and Tutorial Additions for 25,612 and £20,774 respectively; and to A. & T. Burt for the boilerhouse equipment and installation, at £22,450.

Another improvement was the completion of plans for modernising and extanding [extending] Ward IV, the men’s medical ward, to increase its size to accommodate a further 15 beds.


During 1958, Mr. R.E. Barley, a Hastings member of the Board for some years was created a Member of the British Empire in the Queen’s Birthday honours.

Dr. H.M. Wilson, who had been instrumental in the establishment of the hospital in Hastings, died in November of 1958.

1958 – 1959

Work on the buildings continued in 1958, and in addition plans were prepared for the building of a new Nurses Home in preparation for staffing the new hospital block; and also the plans for the new Bulk Store and Mortuary. During the building of additions to Ward IV, the patients were accommodated at Napier Hospital. The cost of these additions was £14,252, and the ward was then able to accommodate a further 12 patients.

The Board sought authority in April 1959 to raise a further loan of £328,000 to finance the balance of the building programme; approval was received in July 1950 for loans of £270,000. The first part of the loan, comprising £100,000 was filled within 21 days.

During discussions on the erection of a new Nurses Home, it had been suggested by the Health Department that the main hospital kitchen should be

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altered to provide for the extra intake of nurses required. At a further meeting in 1960 the Board expressed the view that a separate dining hall and kitchen block should be attached to the Nurses Home, and this was also the recommendation of the Architect. Approval to call tenders was received during July 1959, but this did not include the dining hall and kitchen block. The contractors were S. Romanes and Son, and the contract price £184,225. Approval to include the dining hall and kitchen block was not received until June 1960.

On 21st April 1958, the Board resolved that the title of the new hospital be the “Hawke’s Bay Fallen Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital”.

The District Nursing Service at Hastings had extended to such an extent that a third District Nurse was appointed in 1951, and a fourth District Nurse in 1958.

In 1959 discussions were still taking place on the future development of the hospital and also on the intended use of the old hospital, and re-allocation of wards and services. The establishment of a Psychiatric Unit was also discussed.

At a special meeting of the Board held on 4th November 1959 at which were present officers of the Health Department, it was reported that Blocks A and AB were well advanced, and are due to be completed within 12 months. The situation which it was realised could happen, had happened, in that there is a substantial time lag between the completion of the Nurses Home and the Ward Block. The new Ward block cannot be populated without the extra staff. To meet the situation it was agreed that the contractors be asked to complete Block A by March 1960, in order to accommodate nurses temporarily until the Nurses Home is finished. It was also decided to seek permission to call tenders for the Store and Mortuary, as this would also be of prime importance. The tender of S. Romanes and Son for £52,000 and that of A. and G. Price for £2798 covering the goods lift, were accepted in January 1960.


The Chairman, Mr. W.E. Bate, completed 21 years of service with the Board in May 1959.

1959 – 1960

During this period, after considerable discussions with the Health Department and the Architect, it was decided to build a Domestic Services and Kitchen Block to the new Nurses Home, instead of enlarging the present kitchen at the main hospital.

A double unit flat for house surgeons was also completed, and occupied in 1960. The building was undertaken by Mr. P.J. Bridgeman at a cost of £7503.

A further loan of £210,000 to finance the balance of projects at the Memorial Hospital, together with additional Laundry Machinery for Napier Hospital, was sought and sanction received in September 1960. Additions to the Napier Hospital Laundry machinery were necessary to cope with the increased patients and staff at Memorial Hospital. This machinery was estimated to cost £19,312.

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In connection with the rapid development of the hospital, the Grounds Staff was increased in 1960, and also in this year the appointment of a Medical Social Worker was approved.

The Board Meeting on 13th April 1960, was held at Memorial Hospital when members took the opportunity to inspect the new Ward Block. The contractors, Messrs. W.M. Angus Ltd. were congratulated on the standard of workmanship and the appearance of the building.


Dr. H.M. [A.F. – Alan Francis] Marshall, who had been connected with the hospital since 1939, died in February, 1959, after many years of outstanding service.


The proposal to establish a Chapel at Memorial Hospital was forwarded to the General Purposes Committee in June 1953.

For some considerable time it had been the desire of nurses to establish a chapel there, and in speaking on the subject at the meeting of the Board held on 21st September 1959, the Chairman stated that this has always been a live issue in Hastings. It was recognised that chapels are not normally part of a hospital or provided by hospital boards out of public money. The nurses themselves have done excellently in acquiring funds for this project. The Memorial Hospital is a memorial, and in the foyer is a plaque suitably inscribed with the names of deceased servicemen; each year Anzac Day services have been held there over a period of years. It has been thought that that portion of the building at present occupied by the administration offices and laboratory, when it would be adapted for the purpose, was an admirable way of providing a Chapel.

The Board adopted in principle the redeeming of the front portion of the hospital as a Chapel, encouraging other public funds and help to provide equivalent room for the laboratory. The Architect prepared a report on this proposal which was again discussed at the special meeting held on 4th November with officers of the Health Department. It was agreed that the foyer be retained for conversion into a Chapel, together with the area at present occupied by the laboratory, following the removal of the latter department to a new position.

The suggestions were approved by the Health Department in January 1960, and to date the nursing staff had raised a considerable sum towards the establishment of their Chapel.


An indication of the growth of hospital services at Hastings, may be gathered from the following statistics covering the period 1949/50 to 1959/60:

Number of patients treated   2567   2752
Average number of occupied beds   107   117.9
Operations performed   1531   2463
Number of outpatient attendances   21608   30688
District Nursing – Visits to Homes   4692   12809
Average number of staff employed   220   377

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During the course of the building of Blocks A and AB, difficulties were experienced in obtaining materials from overseas, due to import restrictions but these were overcome in due course, and progress continued to be very satisfactory.


Drs. A.D.S. White, C.G.R. Wright, E.Y. Comrie

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Summary of events as outlined in AM Isdale’s “History of Hastings Hospital” 1941, plus updates from 1941 to 1960

Surnames in this document –
Allan, Anderson, Andrew, Angus, Baird, Barley, Barnard, Bate, Beamish, Bedford, Bennett, Blake-Greene, Bridgeman, Brocklehurst, Brown, Bunn, Burt, Butcher, Cameron, Campbell, Cassin, Chambers, Chaplin, Clarkson, Coates, Colebourne, Collison, Cooper, Cranby, Cronin, Crosse, Culver, Davis, de Denne, Dennett, Donnelly, Donovan, Douglas, Duff, Dunkley, Ebbett, Edridge, Ellingham, Ellison, Eriksen, Evans, Fannin, Foster, Fowler, Fraser, Garnett, Gascoyne, George, Georgetti, Gooseman, Gray, Hamilton, Harding, Harris, Hart, Hartshorn, Hassall, Hayes, Henry, Hill, Hoadley, Holderness, Holland, Horton, Hunter, Hyland, Johnson, Joll, Jull, Keith, Kelly, King, Lanauze, Large, Lassen, Leslie, Lewis, Liddell, Logan, Lovell-Smith, Lowry, Lowry, Macassey, Maddison, Mahony, Mair, Mason, Massey, McBean, McDonald, McHardy, McKay, McKee, McKibbin, McLean, McLeod, Miller, Morse, Mossman, Murray, Nairn, Nelson, Newbigin, Nihill, O’Connell, O’Leary, O’Neill, O’Reilly, Owen, Parr, Peck, Pegler, Perrin, Phillips, Pinckney, Pope, Price, Priest, Puke Puke, Rainbow, Ramsey, Read, Rees, Reston, Richmond, Roach, Romanes, Russell, Salmon, Scott, Shrimpton, Simson, Sinclair, Smith, Stallworthy, Stevenson, Styles, Tanner, Te Ua, Tipping, Tombs, Tomoana, Tosswill, Tuohy, Tupaea, van Staveren, Wade, Walker, Watson, White, Williams, Young

Doctors – Ballantyne, Barcroft, Bathgate, Berry, Biggs, Boxer, Broughton, Cashmore, Comrie, Costello, de Lisle, Felkin, Frengley, Kitchen, Marshall, McDonnell, McKibbin, Meade, Moller, Nairn, Purves, Shore, Storey, Taylor, Tosswill, Valintine, Watt, White, Whyte, Wilson, Wright

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Hawke's Bay Fallen Soldiers' Memorial Hospital

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