Newspaper Article 1926 – New Nurses’ Homes



Buildings To Be Proud Of


Two very important ceremonies were performed by the Minister of Health (the Hon. J. A. Young) during the weekend – the opening of the  Waipukurau and Napier Nurses’ Homes. Both buildings are large and imposing and a credit to those responsible for their erection. The Minister said at Waipukurau on Saturday afternoon that nurses were giving a great service to the people, and the boards should see that they were given the proper amenities of life. As for the question of expenditure on Nurses’ Homes, nurses were entitled to the best.



Commanding the entrance to the Napier Hospital grounds and overlooking the bay, is the new Nurses Home, a most imposing building costing £20,000 and which is a striking addition to Napier’s many fine public institutions. For a considerable period, the nurses’ have had to tolerate being congested in their quarters and the opening of the home will enable them to enjoy every comfort.

Yesterday afternoon marked the important occasion of the official opening of the home by the Minister of Health, the Hon. J.A. Young Just as the ceremony was about to begin a boisterous squall blew up and rain commenced to fall, upsetting the arrangements made for the Minister to address the public from the balcony. The large gathering then took shelter in the main entrance hall where the ceremony took place.

This being his first visit to Napier since his elevation to Cabinet rank a hearty invitation was extended to Mr. Young by the Mayor of Napier, Mr. J.B. Andrew, who is also chairman of the Hawke’s Bay Hospital Board.


Mr. Andrew said that many could remember when this site contained the first military barracks which later was converted into an old peoples’ refuge. Time and conditions had altered and the need for more housing of those who cared for the sick had been responsible for the building of this fine Nurses’ Home. All the fine buildings at the hospital had not been provided by public or Government money. In Hawke’s Bay they were fortunate in having very generous-hearted people. One was their old friend, Mr. Walter Shrimpton, who for many years, contributed to the comfort of the sick, not only with his hands, but with his money.

They all hoped he would be spared many years to continue his great work for humanity. They had on the grounds the Shrimpton Ward, erected by Mr. W. Shrimpton to the memory of his late son; the Margaret Ward, erected by the Williams family; the Robjohns Ward, the Stokes Ward, and now in the course of erection the Midgley Ward. Not the least was that wonderful gift the McHardy Home, by Mr. McHardy, the most up-to-date maternity home in New Zealand.


Of recent years the hospital had grown enormously and with it the question of nurses’ accommodation had become acute, the board having been obliged to house them in various spare rooms about the hospital. In 1910 the average number of occupied beds was about 60, whilst to-day it was 220. The nursing staff in 1910 was about 25 whilst to-day it was 80.

The present building was planned by Messrs. Massey, Hyland and Phillips of Hastings and erected by Messrs. Hillen and Howard, and to them great praise was due. On the ground floor there was up-to-date accommodation for the administrative offices and board room. The first floor was to be the sisters’ flat and the matron’s room, whilst the next floor was for additional nurses’ accommodation. The top floor was not yet to be occupied but the board had adopted the wise precaution of being prepared for further extensions. These additions were long overdue and the way the nurses had borne the inconvenience spoke well for their patience.


Mr. John Mason, M.P., in adding to the welcome given the Minister by the Mayor, expressed the hope that this visit would not by any means be the last. Continuing, Mr. Mason said that this building showed the progress that New Zealand was making.

It was once thought that the original nurses’ home would be adequate for many years, but to-day it was proved to be entirely inadequate. The old buildings were getting out-of-date and if anyone wanted to see an example of another out-of-date building they had only to look at the Napier Post Office. He hoped that they would soon be able to welcome the Hon. W. Nosworthy to Napier to lay the foundation stone of a new building there also. There was no doubt that the hospital system in New Zealand was a credit and he had been told that there was not a finer system in the world. In Napier they were particularly fortunate in having such a man as Dr. Allan Berry as medical superintendent. He was a man of considerable skill and ability and all had confidence in him. With him was associated a very capable staff, not only medical but nursing, by whom the sick were tenderly cared for.

Mr. Mason pointed out that adequate staffing of nurses was most necessary and stated that it was false economy to have small staffs to work, which meant the nurses had long hours. He hoped that the time would soon come when a nurse could have one day off in seven and be given regular annual leave. He congratulated the board on the work they were carrying out in demolishing the old buildings, and replacing with modern ones. He hoped that the opening of the home would lead to further efficiency of the hospital and to the happiness of nurses.


The Minister, in reply, expressed his thanks for the welcome Napier had extended to him. The opening of the Home marked an important step in the progressive social service that was being given to the sick and suffering. Hospitals, he said, were made up of something more than buildings and equipment. There was the human factor, as represented in the members of Hospital Boards, the medical, nursing and other staffs. Board members deserved great thanks for their gratuitous services and if the public failed to show interest in their work and abuses crept in – well the people had only themselves to blame.


The hospital system in New Zealand was unequalled in the world, said Mr Young. A committee recently reported to English authorities that the hospital system which they should take as a model was that operating in New Zealand. He, personally would stand firmly by the free and representative character of the constitution. The nurses were giving great service and the various boards should see that they were given the proper amenities of life. It was said that the nurses got more from the nurses’ homes than ever they enjoyed in their own homes. He, however contended that they had a perfect right to enjoy the social amenities enjoyed by other people, and he would never turn down any reasonable request to provide them with such comfort. Service to the patients was the basis of the hospital system, but while giving efficient service they had to pay due regard to economy. One half the cost of capital expenditure was found by the Government, and the other half by the local authorities.

It had been said that such a system was having the effect of drying up the channels of benevolence, but such was not the case, as during last year the sum of £18,000 was donated to various hospitals in the Dominion. The care of the sick was a charge upon the community, which was a far better principle than not knowing where finances might come from.


The Minister then proceeded to detail some interesting returns in regard to hospital administration, and to the receipt and expenditure of hospital boards for the year ending March 31 last. Receipts from the Government amounted to £580,000, that included £100,000 on account of capital expenditure. Levies on local authorities totalled £526,000, an amount less that that levied on the Government. Voluntary contributions totalled £18,000, fees received £324,000 and rents £25,000, making a total of £1,473,000. Expenditure, apart from charitable relief, was made up of maintenance £925,000 administration £49,000, interest £52,000, charitable aid £321,000 capital expenditure £578,000, district nursing £18,000, making a total of £1,993,000. That was not all spent on the sick and suffering. The Government spent £113,000 on sanitoria, for which £68,000 was collected in fees. The figures showed an increase over those of other years, while the fees collected were greater than before. This, Mr Young said, was a healthy sign. He stated that expenditure on charitable relief was £12,000 less than last year.

Mr. Young then referred to New Zealand’s low death rate, and the policy of the Government to encourage hospital boards to establish maternity wards in country districts to give service to mothers there. The Government was determined, he said, to continue to do its best for infant life and bring even further credit upon the Dominion.

Mr. Young then declared the home open, when cheers were given home open, when cheers were called for the Minister, the hospital and the staff.

The Minister was subsequently entained [entertained] at after noon tea and afterwards left for the Parke Island Home, where he was welcomed by Mr. J. Harris, chairman of the Parke Island Committee. Later he made an inspection of the building.



Fine, but somewhat cold and windy weather conditions were in evidence on Saturday when the newly opened Waipukurau Nurses’ Home was formally opened by the Hon. J.A. Young, Minister of Health. There was a fairly large and representative assemblage of Central Hawke’s Bay residents. On the balcony of the Home, where the function took place, were assembled the several speakers, members of the Waipukurau Hospital Board, Dr. J.L. Reed, medical superintendent, the matron (Miss Drummond), acting Home-Sister (Miss Carston), Lady Hunter, and several other ladies, also local body representatives.

The secretary of the board (Mr. J.J. East) read a number of apologies for unavoidable absence viz., Messrs. John T. Mair, A.R.I.B.A., Government Architecture, B.F. Kelly, representative of the architect, chairman and members of the Dannevirke Board, chairman and members of the Waipawa County Council (Mr. Chas [Charles] Pattison), and the Mayor of Waipawa (Mr. H.M. Rathbone).


Mr. W.H. Rathbone, chairman […] welcomed […] mentioning that it was the Minister’s first official visit to the Hospital. The well-appointed Home, said Mr. Rathbone, was the result of expenditure totalling, with extras, approximately £10,000, and all essentials for the comfortable housing of the nursing staff had been provided. The total of patients receiving treatment in the Hospital was double the number five years back. The nursing staff had consequently increased, and the Board’s object was to provide the best accommodation possible. The furnishings had been placed in the building minus any charge upon the general fund. The local builder and sub-constractors [sub-contractors] were to be heartily congratulated on the excellence of the workmanship. (Applause).


The Mayor of Waipukurau, Mr E. A. Goodger, extended a very hearty welcome to Waipukurau to the Minister. He congratulated the nurses on the completion of the fine building provided for their comfort. The provision was worthy of the claims of the nursing staff. The building was a credit to Waipukurau and he expressed satisfaction that the Board had risen to the occasion in such a fitting manner. (Applause).

Sir George Hunter, M.P., said that the Hon. J.A. Young has shown keen interest in the discharge of his duties. His portfolio was second to none in importance, dealing as it did with the health of the people. The present government has instituted a scheme for the superannuation of a section of the nurses, and it was hoped during next session of Parliament to make its application more general. He himself endorsed the sentiments of the Mayor as to the institution being a well-deserved facility for the nurses, and congratulated the Board accordingly. (Applause).


The Hon. J.A. Young, who was warmly received, said that he fully appreciated the cordial welcome accorded him. When on a visit to the Pukeora Sanatorium [sanitorium] a few months back he had unexpectedly become an inmate of the Hospital, in which he had received excellent treatment. The occasion of the opening of the home marked an important epoch in the progress of the district. Adequate hospital services were essential features of settlement and general development, and the Home was especially valuable and commendable. The members of hospital boards, firstly, deserved thanks for their administrative service as representatives of the people, then great credit became due to the medical staff, and the nurses. He had heard criticism as to the high standard of comfort provided for nurses ; therefore he welcomed the sentiments of the Mayor on this score because he (the Minister) believed that the best possible facilities should be made available. The Government looked for economy but did not expect it at the expense of efficiency. There had been £600 expended on furniture by the Waipawa Board, voluntarily provided by the local community, and carrying a £1 for £1 subsidy. Of the cost of the building, £4,800 would be found by the local authorities, and the balance by the Government. New Zealand had more beds and more hospitals and sanitoriums for patients per capita, than any other country in the world. The death-rate was, fortunately at a minimum, comparing favourably with other countries. A large percentage of patients’ fees[?] had been received that year than previously.


Mr. Young said that while splendid humanitarian work was in progress, much more might be done to prevent the spread of disease. District nursing was an important phase of this work. He referred to the value of Hawkes’ Bay sunshine to promoting the health of the people. “Prevention is better than cure.” said Mr Young. He congratulated the Board on the establishment of a maternity hospital. The position as between 1924 and 1925 was that while the deaths per 1000 births was 5 [five] in the former year, the rate was reduced to 4.65 in the latter. It was gratifying to find that the number of deaths had decreased despite the growth of population.


In declaring the Home open Mr. Young remarked upon the significance of the Latin lettering surmounting the entrance, viz, “Spiritus Intus Alit.,” meaning, “It’s the spirit within that keeps us going.” Undoubtedly the spirit of service on behalf of humanity was what counted for most in the affairs of life.

In concluding, the Minister said he had great pleasure in declaring the building open, as he turned the key in the door to the main entrance, amid loud applause.

A gold key suitably inscribed was presented to Mr. Young as a memento of the occasion.

The Minister and the members of the Board were hospitably entertained at a dainty afternoon tea by the matron and staff.


The building is of two storeys, and of a substantial and attractive design, in brick, rough-cast, and plaster, surrounded by a roof of Marseilles tiles, while the outer side of the balcony, suitable for sleeping-out purposes, extending along both sides of the upper portion of the central section (faced with rough-cast) is constructed of timber. On a concrete face, near the top of the central section (nurses’ sitting-room on the ground floor and Sisters’ (4) sitting-room upstairs, also lecture room) appears the appropriate Latin lettering “Spiritus Intus Alit.” and the figures “1926” with a Red Cross sign below. Inset lower down is the marble foundation-stone. The ground floor verandah, extending along the frontage for the full length, with the exception of the central section mentioned, is of red-coloured concrete as flooring, and the outer well [wall] is of rough-cast. The whole scheme is pleasing from an architectural point of view. The parapet of brick, with an iron railing, extending along the frontage to Hospital road, adds an appropriate note to the surroundings. The nurses’ sitting-room is a very spacious one, and well furnished, as is typical of this and other rooms. An old-fashioned fireplace of clinker bricks lends an added note of comfort. The dining-room is another specially attractive feature, and at one end two pillars give a stage-like setting to the large room, which by means of folding walls  in? embrace, for social purposes, both the sitting-room opposite and a section of the corridor. The floors of all rooms are polished and well supplied with carpet squares. The tables and chairs, of pleasing design, were supplied by Messrs. R. Staines and Son, of Waipukurau, and this firm also filled the large contract involved in providing beds, etc., for each of the 22 [twenty two] rooms to be occupied immediately, of a total of 30 [thirty] available in the building. The electric light fittings are complete in every particular, and a really excellent service has been instituted. On the ground floor is located an up-to-date independent heating system. There is one bath-room on the same floor, with a shower, and two wash basins, etc., while on the upper floor where, of course, the majority of the bedrooms are located, the provision on this score is on an equally liberal basis, viz., similar bath-room facilities at each end. The  flors [floors] are of linolite material, resilient and promoting warmth. Along the whole length of each storey is a corridor, covered with a heavy carpet runner, as is also the stairway.

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Newspaper article

Date published

6 December 1926


The Hawke's Bay Tribune


Published with permission of Hawke's Bay Today


  • J B Andrew
  • Dr Allan Berry
  • Miss Carston
  • Miss Drummond
  • J J East
  • E A Goodger
  • J Harris
  • Lady Hunter
  • Sir George Hunter
  • B F Kelly
  • John T Mair
  • John Mason
  • Mr McHardy
  • Honourable W Nosworthy
  • Chas Pattison
  • H M Rathbone
  • Dr J L Reed
  • Walter Shrimpton
  • Honourable J A Young

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