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Access: Cool asylum: Porirua Hospital Museum

8 Responses

  • B Jones,

    I visited Porirua Hospital as a schoolchild in 1987 or 88 - our school choir and orchestra gave annual concerts there for the patients. It left a lasting impression - the people I could see in the audience were overwhelmingly elderly, and chainsmokers to a man and woman. The fug in the auditorium was unbelievable.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report

  • Hilary Stace,

    The book is available for $10 from the museum. It's a great read.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3229 posts Report

  • Rochelle, in reply to B Jones,

    Yes. Cigarettes were a reward, and deprivation of these to the addicted was a punishment.
    I knew an ex-patient of very many years with smoking-related illness, but who was delighted to be abe to give up. No chance there.

    Kapiti • Since Feb 2011 • 9 posts Report

  • Campbell Walker,

    There is a very fine film, Asylum Pieces, directed by Kathy Dudding, from a few years ago, based around the Porirua asylum, and more broadly mental health care in New Zealand. Very essayistic in tone and technique, very focused and stern, one of my favourite NZ films in fact. I don't think it's readily available, but the Film Archive will have it at least. Kathy worked there, in ways unusually supplemental to her film-making practice. Asylum Pieces was her last -and best- film, she died of lung cancer very shortly after finishing it. It should be seen much more...

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2013 • 14 posts Report

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Campbell Walker,

    Thank you Campbell. I will track it down. Found this review from 2010 film festival. Two other good NZ documentaries about institutions are Mental Notes (survivor stories) and Out of Sight, out of mind (about the de-institutionalisation of Templeton).

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3229 posts Report

  • WaterDragon,

    Templeton has had a couple of documentaries made about it. While I've seen both, I cannot recall definitively if one of them was Out of Sight, Out of Mind, though I suspect so. The woman who will know about the doco is Sue Gates.

    Behind you • Since Jul 2011 • 79 posts Report

  • Hilary Stace, Christchurch filmmaker Gerard Smythe made this one and it screened on TV just before Christmas in 2004. Made a big impression on me. Those old people with no idea why they had been sent to Templeton as children.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3229 posts Report

  • Robyn Hunt, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    What strikes me about the book is the absence of the perspective of any patients. May O'Hagan's book "Madness Made Me" is a very interesting insight into and reflection on mental health services and institutions

    Wellington • Since Jun 2014 • 5 posts Report

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