Visitor Info

Opening Hours

Every Tuesday, from 1pm – 4pm.

We can accommodate groups outside these hours by arrangement, just get in contact.

Directions

The Museum is situated in the ex-F Ward Block, Upper Main Drive on the western side of the Porirua Hospital Campus.


The building looks like this:

Facilities

Available facilities include:

  • Wheelchair access
  • Toilets
  • Guided Tours
  • Parking

Unfortunately we do not have recreational facilities for children.

Exhibits

The Museum collects artefacts relating to Porirua Hospital and the services provided by the Hospital.

Some of the displays that you will see when you visit the museum are:

Farm implements – a reminder of the hospital’s agricultural past. At one stage Porirua Hospital was a self sufficient farm – also a feature of other psychiatric hospitals of the time. Working on the farm was considered good therapy for physically able patients and many responded well to the rewards farm labour offered.

Yoke – used to carry milk from the hospital cow sheds to the wards. At one stage a nurse discovered that the person whose job it was to deliver the milk half-filled the cans with milk and then topped them up with water near the ward!

Insulin treatment chart – the first real treatment for psychiatric patients in the the 1940’s.

seclusion room

Inside the seclusion room used to house psychiatric patients

Seclusion room – used right up until the late 1960’s. A shutter was placed over the window to prevent violent people from harming themselves. The mattress on the bed and blanket are made of heavy canvas to prevent them from being torn up.

The door is very thick and heavy – there are marks in door where a bed end has been bashed against it. The light switch is outside the room. A peephole at the side of the room allowed the nurses to observe the person in the room even if they were standing directly in front of the door. The walls are filled with pumice to deaden noise and as a fire protection measure.

Shock treatment machines – some were made at Porirua Hospital. ECT is still used as an effective treatment today.

Keys – female keys opened all doors on the female wards, male keys for the male wards, and the grand master keys held by the superintendent that opened all doors.

A morgue box containing everything you need to lay out a deceased patient.

Photo: Zoe Melling

Photo: Zoe Melling

Locked medication baskets – medication was put in trays and then sent to the wards.

F Ward Block Building – the F-Ward was built in 1910, and the New Zealand Historic Places Trust has listed the building as an historic site of national importance.